It was back to Misano for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi this weekend at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in more ways than one after missing last year through injury, as ‘The Doctor’ unveiled his traditional one-off helmet design for the San Marino GP ahead of Saturday’s track action.
The track action in qualifying left Rossi just 0.112 from second place Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), but the rider from Tavullia ends up starting Sunday’s race from the third row of the grid in P7: “Yes it’s a great shame because second place is one tenth (away), so it’s unbelievable, we are very very very very close. I did a good lap but not perfect, unfortunately I did some mistakes and it cost me the first or second row. To start from the second or third row is more difficult for sure.”
Despite the disappointing position, the nine-time World Champion explained how he’s managed to improve the balance of his YZR-M1 this weekend, while his pace is also strong: “From the other side in FP4, we improved the balance of the bike, I feel better and I’m not so bad, I have a good pace, also with the used tyre I’m good.”
But the Yamaha rider faces some stiff competition if he wants to stand on the Misano podium for the eighth time, with the Ducatis looking particularly strong: “It looks like I need two tenths more if I want to fight for the podium because we have a minimum of five riders with the same pace, so we have to work tonight to try and see if we can make the small step. For me the Ducatis are very very strong, they are the favourites, especially Lorenzo. He looks like the faster guy so it will be very difficult,” admitted Rossi, who then names five others who have a good pace: “But also Dovi is fast, Marquez is fast but also Viñales is fast. Jack Miller and Crutchlow have a good pace so there is already a lot (of us). We have to improve a little bit and fight for the podium.”
Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini: Q2
Will it be back to the podium for the Italian? He’s managed it three times this season, but it looks set to be an intense battle at Misano. Don’t miss Rossi go for home glory at 14:00 local time (GMT +2).
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