Abandon all hope, ye who enter… in Jerez with a Yamaha. It could have been the sign to hang on the entrance of the Spanish circuit for the past couple of years. Valentino's 16th place at the end of the first day of practice says a lot about the difficulties of the M1, despite the fact that the Doctor, due to a red flag, failed to perform in the qualifying lap.
"We all hoped to get better, after the changes made to the bike in the first races and thanks to the new asphalt. Instead, I suffered," the Doctor was forced to admit. “It was a difficult day. I tried a different balance, but I continued to suffer. I'm not fast, my pace is certainly not fantastic, and I'm behind in the rankings."
This synthesis does not leave much room for optimism, also because a recipe doesn't seem to exist that will allow us to change the numbers on the field.
"It's hard for me to talk about a specific problem," he continued, "because I'm slow everywhere." Everything depends on the combination of the M1, the tires, and the track. That's why we're suffering. After all, the bikes and tires are the same as in Austin, where I started very well, while they don't work here. There is no particular problem to solve. They've done a really good job with the new asphalt. It's smooth and has a lot of grip. We all go faster, but our gap from the first positions, compared to last year, has remained unchanged.”
Before setting foot in Jerez, Valentino was hopeful. Instead, it was like a cold shower. Yet, it doesn't mean that everything is compromised, if the weekend doesn't change in appearance.
"It's not here that we'll reach a final answer," he emphasized. "It would have been nice if everything had gone well, but we can struggle here, then find a very competitive bike at Le Mans. The championship does not end in Jerez. I also know, however, that to fight for the championship, more points are needed. When you encounter difficulties, you need to be even more focused to get the most. It's only Friday, and we have other things to test."
Meanwhile, the spoon debuted today.
"To lower the temperature of the rear tire," specified Rossi. "It helps a little, but I didn't notice a big difference. That certainly won't be what will make us solve our problems here, which are always the same. In fact, I don't only suffer in acceleration, but also when entering a corner. I find it difficult to ride the M1."
At this moment, it's difficult to think that, on Sunday, the victory can be played like in Austin. The Doctor remembers that last lap and clears the doubts of those who think that age could have played against him.
"Although that is one of the tracks that demands the most from you physically in all the championship, I was in good shape," he assured. "I think I played it well, but Rins was faster than me and was able to implement his strategy better. But I made a mistake. That's it.”
Mistakes can’t be made tomorrow because the FP3s will be practically fundamental.
"Entering or not entering the top 10 can change the weekend," he explained. "We'll try some tires at the beginning, then it'll still be like we're in qualifying. We're struggling, but we must try to improve."
Before leaving, Valentino once again joked about the corners bearing the names of the riders.
"I'm glad that Pedrosa, Lorenzo, and Marquez have one, but I would say 'no'. Can you imagine entering the Valentino Rossi corner? It would be like entering my restaurant in Tavullia," he laughed.