Valentino Rossi, from Doctor to patient
Perhaps we deluded ourselves, two months ago, when in Qatar he played a race in his usual style. But it was justifiable, Rossi had brought the sun under the artificial lights, it wasn’t the final second place to make us think he was finally back, but how he achieved it. A remounting race, made of overtakings, the struggle with Marc Marquez. While riding the Doctor was lissom, he didn’t fight against the motorcycle like in the previous two years but finally he rode it. Austin had tempered attitutes, as we expected . As Crutchlow also noted, the boy from Pesaro needs time to assimilate the new circuits and Texas should have remained an isolated event. Because Europe was arriving.
OPTIMISTIC ROSSI THINKS HE PASSED THE EXAM– Europe and two circuits, Jerez and Le Mans, which were always friends of Yamaha and Valentino’s, had complicated things even more instead. Valentino, at the end of the GP of France said: “ an 8 to the motorcycle and the team, a 7 to me”. Maybe a little too optimistic becausehe was fourth in Spain, that at the moment means being the last among the first ones, and the other three, the Spanish, have never been within Rossi’s range.
At Le Mans he said, instead, that if he hadn’t fallen, he could have raced for the second place. On the one hand numbers confirm his thesis. On the other they prove it wrong because it’s true that Valentino rode the second faster lap in the race (1’44”061, compared with 1’43”597 by Pedrosa and 1’44”161 by Crutchlow). But chronologicals show that in the laps before he fell, he was losing ground in relation to Cal. Starting from lap 13 onwards, Rossi lost between one and six tenths in relation the Tech 3 pilot every time he passed the finish line (except for the lap 16 where he recovered) and even Hayden was faster than him. It’s also true that it was little more than half of the race, but the situation wasn’t going to the best.
L’OMBRA DELLA DUCATI – So what’s happening? Has the Doctor forgotten how to ride? Remarkably he never tries to find excuses. “In the last two races I’ve suffered more than I imagined – he replied to a direct question – I come from two difficult years and I need more time to be able to give my best ”. The problem is that there isn’t much time, because Lorenzo and Pedrosa are perhaps even stronger than before and Marquez is learning to ride a MotoGP motorcycle with disarming ease .
Valentino had thought that it would have been enough to get on the M1 to turn back the clock, but 24 months in which he lost motivations, desire and perhaps even confidence can’t simply be swept aside . The Doctor is 34 years old, few generally speaking, but a lot if we think that he rode his first world race when he was 17. Compared to him, his rivals are ‘children’ and their ability to adapt is clearly higher.
A NEW WORLD – The big champion problem is that expectations are always the highest and every misstep is mercilessly judged and it costs a lot. Just like Schumacher when he returned to Formula 1 after his first farewell, Valentino is disappointing. Time boundary for him wasn’t a retreat, but two colorless years. Making hurried considerations, after only four races, is still wrong. Even because the first to be aware of his current limitations is precisely him. . “I know Marquez, Lorenzo and Pedrosa now are faster than me, I still have to train and I’m aware of that” he admits.
Such as qualifications, which he still doesn’t understand well, or in the first laps of the race, where the others fly. “ The style of racing has changed in recent years and I have to get used to it” he stressed. He has got time, because the contract with Yamaha expires in the end of 2014 and there’s plenty of races in the middle to recover. At the moment Rossi shouldn’t set unattainable goals , even if that world championship number 10 is stuck in his mind. “I want to equal the others level, then we’ll see” he said. A big advantage on his side: his supporters, who have never abandoned him. At Le Mans, during a promotional happening, they welcomed him as if he were the world champion, so that Valentino had to ‘scold’ them for ignoring Lorenzo, who was next to him. A lot of them are waiting to see him win, and there will be even more at Mugello. “A good result would be more important than ever there”. What better place to start a new chapter of the book of 46?
Translation by Flavia Giuliano