At the ninth attempt of asking since the Americas GP, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi finally returned his Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP machine on the front row of the grid thanks to a fine Saturday display at Silverstone.
‘The Doctor’ has looked strong all weekend at the GoPro British Grand Prix and Saturday was no different. Having his first Q2 flying lap chalked off for exceeding track limits, Rossi was under the cosh to bring the heat on his second run. A few games with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) on their out-laps eventually led to Rossi essentially acting as a tow bar for the duo around their final flying laps. Nevertheless, the 40-year-old pulled out a stunner, with Marquez putting in a great effort behind to snatch pole from Rossi. No matter, the Yamaha man will take P2 all day long and he looks set to challenge for another Silverstone victory.
“It’s been a long, long time; too much. In the mid-part of the season we struggled a lot, we were lost and I wasn’t able to ride the bike at the limit. So, for this reason, I’m very, very happy because we changed something with the bike and I feel better,” began Rossi.
“Race by race I’m more competitive. Starting from the front row here is crucial for the race tomorrow. We will see because I have quite a good pace. We need to make the right tyre choice, but I feel good on the bike. Starting from the front row the target is to make a good start, try to stay in front and the race is very long but I want to try fight for the podium.
“It was very strategic even with the first tyre,” explained the Italian, talking about Q2. “A lot of traffic, nobody wanted to stay in front, nobody wanted to pull, everybody wanted to stay behind. So I didn’t have the lap time, I knew I had just one card.
“When I re-entered the track and I saw Marquez behind I knew what was going to happen because he already had a lap. For sure, he wouldn’t go in front. He’d wait for me until dinner time tonight. I knew I had to push but it was great lap, I enjoyed it very much.”
A scintillating MotoGP™ race awaits, and Rossi will be right in the thick of it at the front. Don’t miss a single lap of action when the lights go out at 13:00 local time (GMT+1).