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Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) had to wait 18 races for a podium finish in MotoGP™ after his 2019 Americas GP second place, but at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucia, the nine-time World Champion was back on the box.
It’s safe to say it’s been a tough 15 months for Rossi and his crew since that second place at the Circuit of the Americas. The Doctor struggled to find pace on his YZR-M1 last season and the opening race of 2020 saw Rossi retire with a mechanical issue. However, fortunes changed when Rossi hit the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on Friday morning. Tireless work had seen Rossi and his team find something, and the Italian immediately looked stronger and happier aboard the 46 Yamaha.
Rossi's pressure on Yamaha prompts first podium in a year
“The second part of the 2019 season was very frustrating. I was slow and I suffered very much,” admitted Rossi after the race. Four P4s in Austria, Silverstone, Misano and Malaysia were his best results, but there’s no doubt this is the injection of confidence Rossi needed. Further explaining his thoughts, Rossi admits he and his crew chief David Muñoz have been pushing Yamaha hard to make changes on the bike. But that’s not been easy with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) topping the timesheets in most sessions.
“But this time, we worked in another. We have to work hard because with David [Muñoz] we have to pressure Yamaha because sometimes it’s a political problem, we want to change the bike. But we never give up and from Friday morning I had a good feeling. For sure we have to improve, I still have some problems but I ride, I have my style and I enjoy. I arrived to the race today ready, because I knew I could do a good result. I’m so happy for me and my team, also because last year Jerez was bad. And I hope that we can find a solution to follow this way, to be stronger in the harder racetracks.
“The start was crucial for me, I did a great start,” continued The Doctor. “I tried to follow Fabio but… you know, Fabio is a little bit faster but especially, he doesn’t stress the tyres. It’s like he’s on silk. I’m also sorry for Pecco and Fabio because they were fast, and Maverick – he was a bit faster, but I did a mistake and I let him go. Maybe if not I could have stayed in second but I think he deserved because he was a bit faster. We still have to work on the last five laps, but now we’re not so bad in the other 20.”
Rossi will now be hoping he can take this form into Brno. The Doctor has the taste for the bubbly again and the doubters have been proved wrong.