Veteran Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) isn’t one to feel the home pressure much, but on Friday at Misano the heat was a little on for the nine-time World Champion. With the weather looking threatening throughout the afternoon and the Saturday morning forecast also in doubt, it wasn’t a Friday to take it easy – it was a day to get yourself and keep yourself in the top ten, with an automatic place in Q2 in mind for most.
The Italian left that pretty late. Initially making it into the top ten with a few minutes of FP2 left, the ‘Doctor’ was, nevertheless, on the border – until Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) just pushed him out again. Then, with only two minutes to go it looked as though the chance had already gone – but his 20th lap of the session saw Rossi take it to the limit to move into P8, holding onto that and making it safely through to Q2 should the rain come down tomorrow morning.
Round 13: Day 1 in slow motion
So…what did the ‘Doctor’ have to say after Day 1 at his home track?
“It was important to be in the top ten today. I improved my laptime at the end and got the target. I feel more comfortable with the bike compared to the test; I’m more comfortable but I have some problems, especially in braking. We have to improve the balance."
The rider from Tavullia also lamented the lack of grip at the track compared to the recent private test at the venue, something echoed by both Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo despite the two topping the timesheets.
“With the tyres today it was difficult because we expected the hard was the right choice but the racetrack has a lot less grip compared to the test. So it’s more difficult. We still have a lot of work to do if we want to have a good race.”
Rossi will be back out on Saturday for FP3 and FP4 in the morning, before qualifying begins from 14:10 (GMT +2).
What do the riders think of San Marino GP so far?
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