Rossi: the podium isn't far off
"There's an old joke where I come from, about a boxer that's getting beat up pretty bad. At the end of the round he is up against the ropes and not even sure about what's going on. So he asks his trainer: 'How am I doing?' The trainer responds: 'If you knock him out, you will be tied.' Our latest helmet design was inspired by this joke." That was how Valentino Rossi explained his latest special edition graphics, with which he qualified 6th for tomorrow's San Marino GP. Also helping out were the new frame and swingarm he is using for the first time.
Things went pretty well today...
"The second row is a good place to start the race, but more importantly the gap to the pole position has been reduced to just 7 tenths. It was definitely a positive session."
Have you finally turned the corner with these latest bike updates?
"It's still too early to say. We'll wait until tomorrow afternoon to understand if we really took an important step forward. The feeling is certainly good, but in the end we have run only one dry session."
What are you most worried about?
"How the tires will hold up over the race distance. At Brno, I was suffering too much in the final part of the race. After the first 7 or 8 laps, the performance drops off significantly."
The soft tire almost seems obligatory here, but you normally use the hard.
"The soft is the right choice. The other compound has too many problems heating up the left side. I hope it isn't a disadvantage for us. In testing we ran a full race distance on the same tire, but not without stopping. It was impossible to do a long run, because we had too many different things to test."
How has the new chassis changed the Desmosedici?
"It's not that different from before, but it works better and, most importantly, allows for significant modification of the front end position. The bike is now easier to ride and is more stable on corner entry."
Lorenzo and Pedrosa look untouchable, but the others?
"My pace is close to that of the satellite Hondas and Yamahas, and also Spies. I think we will be a big group of riders fighting it out, and today's times were pretty good, close to those from last year's race."
Are you thinking about the podium?
"I know that the others will improve during the warm up tomorrow, and we must improve as well. We aren't far off. We need to find more traction, then we'll see."
Below is the audio interview in Italian:
Translation by Sean Sedacca