Rossi’s pace “not so bad”

The ‘Doctor’ launches from P9 on the grid, but remains positive about his pace over race distance

Saturday at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France didn’t quite go to plan for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), a crash in FP4 was followed by a ninth-place start. However, Rossi remains upbeat about his race pace, and believes he can at least challenge for the top five on Sunday.

“We tried something in the afternoon and unfortunately, I also made a small mistake with the crash,” said Rossi, who’s pace in FP4 was right up there with the likes of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), indicating a strong result is definitely possible. “But, my pace is not so bad, when we put in the new tyre, sincerely I expected to go faster. On the last lap I also made some mistakes, but the problem is the others are faster. So, we have to try, we continue to work tomorrow and we try to make the right tyre choice.”

The number 46 has experience of starting from P9 on the grid to finish on the podium, as this is exactly what he did back in 2011 on the Ducati. In addition, the 39-year-old has had six podiums at the venue since 2008, with his aim tomorrow being to finish in the top five. Rossi admits that what position he can fight for depends on how the first laps of the race pan out.

“I will try the maximum for top five, as always after the first two or three, there are three or four riders with the same pace so it very much depends on the conditions tomorrow, the start, the first laps.”