One could be facetious and say that, for once, Valentino and his team got the strategy right, but a 5th place for the Doctor at Le Mans is worth more. Because, between dry and wet, Rossi has always been allergic to mixed asphalt conditions. Today, on the other hand, he best interpreted the conditions of the track and focused on the slicks at the right time.
"Today, going to the Q2 was very important. If I had started again from the fifth row, like in Jerez, my race would not have been over, but almost." He explained. "I worked a great deal with the team this year in view of these particular conditions, and now I feel more at ease on on the bike while, in the past, I suffered a lot."
When did you realize that the slicks were the right choice?
"I did well with wet tires in the FP4 but, at the end, I realized that they were at the limit for those conditions. The asphalt is good here. There wasn't much water on the track, and an increase in rain wasn't expected in the short term. I decided to risk it, and it paid off. I'm happy."
However, it didn't work in the Q2...
"I tried again. If I had been able do a couple of laps, I could have started in pole. Unfortunately, there was too much water on the track. I went back to change tires, and I'm happy with a 5th place. To start in the front row, I should have used the first 5 minutes, when the conditions were better."
Did you need courage today?
"In these cases, more than courage. You have to rely on your sensations. I have a lot of experience, and I can take advantage of it. The problem is that, in the past, I was not feeling good on the bike on wet track conditions. We modified the setting of the M1 and improved the electronics and, in Austin, in a similar situation, I had the 3rd best time."
What weather would you like for the race?
"Normally, I would say dry because it's more fun, but right now I know I have a good pace in the rain and lots of question marks when it's sunny. Yesterday, I wasn't fantastic, and today the track conditions didn't allow us to try the changes we had in mind."
In case of a wet track?
"It would be precarious. It would depend a lot on the intensity of the rain. Getting to the end of the race with little water and rain tires could be very difficult, but managing them well could be a success."