It is difficult to talk to Valentino about the Valencia race because it is unlikely that there will be any surprises tomorrow. Once again, the 2016 M1 is doing better than the 2017 version and Zarco is celebrating the front row, while Rossi has to settle for 7th place. All told, things did not go too badly for the Doctor if you consider that Viñales is 13th and defining the current situation as “frustrating”.
Valentino, is it frustrating for you too?
“Maybe a bit less, because when I had tried this bike for the first time, I realised that I did not feel comfortable. During the season we tried a lot of different things. Sometimes we saw a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, but not here in Valencia. When the ride doesn’t give you confidence, you are unable to push to the limit.”
And 2018 approaches…
“We need to figure out which direction to go quickly and it will be different from the current direction. We spoke at length with the Japanese engineers and the important thing is that now the situation is clear for them too.”
Jarvis said that it was not a disastrous season. Do you agree?
“We won 4 races and finished on the podium quite a bit, so I can see what Lin means. However, I am also sure that we have the potential to do much better. We could have done more.”
“At a certain point, we lost our way. We tried, but we are at the last race and we haven’t solved much.”
Viñales said that he was wrong not to trust his feelings on development of the bike…
“I can only speak for myself and I think that the direction we made is not the right one for going faster. After all, we also have two different riding styles.”
Couldn’t this disagreement lead to some other friction on future developments?
“If they bring us a bike that works, Maverick and I will certainly be in agreement (he laughs). Fast bikes solve a lot of problems, otherwise they bring more problems with them.”
Wouldn’t you be curious to test the old M1 in the next tests?
“As always, we’ll talk about the programme only after the race. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to try the 2016 bike again but I don’t know if it will be possible to do it in Valencia.”
Then let’s talk about the race: You’ll start 7th.
“It isn’t a fantastic position, but I’d say that it isn’t bad considering my speed throughout the weekend. We were able to improve the balance of the bike and, without a small mistake on the last turn, I would have been able to start from the second row.”
What are you aiming for in the race?
“The biggest problem is my race pace. It will be hard, but in warm up we’ll have a last chance to sort a few things. If we manage to do that, maybe it won’t go too badly.”
With that front row, it will be a hot start…
“Iannone and Zarco are two riders who brake very late on the first corner. Sometimes seeing them I have thought that something would happen, but then they always manage to turn. Marquez is also capable, though.”
Speaking of Marc, you know him well. What kind of race will he do?
“Fortunately I am not the one who knows him the best (he laughs). I think he will try to win the race. Dovizioso is having trouble and Andrea’s chances of winning it are very remote.”