There is a glimmer of hope for Valentino, after yesterday's disastrous day. The 11th fastest time in qualifying is not a result to uncork a bottle of champagne for, but his sensations on the Yamaha have improved even if the rear tyre (in the sense of its wear) remains a problem. In this regard, Piero Taramasso, head of Michelin, has speculated that the problem could derive from the riding style of Rossi, who does not lean too far off the bike.
"I listened to his interview and I don’t agree with him – was the Doctor's reply - If you look at the pictures of me in the corners, you will see that I lean out a lot, I have worked a lot over the years on this aspect. Indeed, with the Bridgestones we were even further out, while the Michelins don’t allow us to do that too much. I don't think that's the problem, for example Dovizioso is a very composed rider in the seat, he doesn't lean over much, but he doesn't finish the tyres. "
So where does this problem come from?
“Throughout my career I have always preferred hard tyres, while the Michelins are soft, both in the construction and the compound. Perhaps it also derives from my stature, which is bigger than that of most of the other riders, and, even though I am thin, as I’m taller I weigh a few kilos more. However, I agree with Taramasso on one point: it's my problem, not Michelin's, because the other riders are faster. "
Did you expect to struggle so much at Jerez?
“Honestly yes. In the tests in Malaysia and Qatar I had gone better, I had a good pace, but I expected to suffer at Jerez, because from 2017 onwards I have always had complicated weekends on this track. Yesterday was tough, but today it got better. "
Have you taken a look at the data of Vinales and Quartararo to understand where they are fastest?
“Yes, yesterday with my problems they were very different from mine, today they are similar. They are strong everywhere, but where Maverick makes the difference is in braking, he is better than me. This was my best problem today, something more is needed. I think the two of them and Marquez are the ones with the best pace, but then there is a group of riders with a very similar pace between them. I need to find a few more tenths, let’s see if we can do it. "
Marc might be surrounded by the Yamahas and the new Ducati chargers… do you think there is a wind of change in MotoGP?
“I still see Marc as the favourite, he has the best pace of all. Vinales and Quartararo are riding awesome and maybe they will cause him some problems. The Yamaha is superior over one lap, but I think it is still inferior in the race to the Honda, which can count on a higher top speed and consumes the tyres less. Then there are the Ducatis, which start well and are fast on the straight, Bagnaia has been awesome these days and Miller is really on fire. We'll see".
Will the results of the first few races affect your decision to continue?
“No, things won't change. As I said, we are now in agreement and we just have to sort out the final details, but there is no hurry. "