Valentino Rossi uses a term that is not too technical but certainly incisive after his mistake in Barcelona: “I f… up.” His rant is largely justifiable after seeing the chance of getting on the podium with nine laps to go slip away before his eyes. His Yamaha rolled into the gravel at the second corner, and the Doctor looked simply dejected.
“After a weekend like this one, it’s really a shame,” he said regretfully. “I was fast since Friday, then I continued to improve. I would certainly have been on the podium, maybe I could have even finished ahead of Quartararo, because I saw that he had slowed down a lot in the last laps.”
“I pushed to stay close to Fabio, but I got to the second corner, where you lean to the left. The tire on that side is colder, the temperatures were low, and I lost the front. I needed a podium after a weekend like this one.”
Do you have an explanation for that slip?
“We all knew that we had to ride faster today but, above all, well, so as not to stress the tires. Up to that point, I had done that, but I wanted to win and, to do so, you have to push hard. That’s what got me. If I look at the data, they’re similar to those of the previous lap. It was a fall like Bagnaia’s at Misano. You have a hard time explaining it. For sure, the temperatures were low, the left side of the tire is the coldest, and I went below the range. But it’s still a f… up.”
Do you have any regrets? Quartararo said you set your pace too high at the start of the race.
“I was riding smoothly because I knew that, at the end of the race. we would have had problems with the tires. I had a good pace, but I wasn’t pushing very hard. Then Morbidelli made a mistake in the first corner and, at that point, I pushed because I didn’t want Quartararo to take too much of an advantage. Also, the Suzukis and Ducatis were close, and I knew they would be fast in the final race. Unfortunately, I made a mistake.”
Did you think about the victory?
“When you feel comfortable with the bike, you have to stay up front. I would certainly have been able to get on the podium, probably in second place, but also win. I got enticed. It was really fast, I felt it was a great chance for me, anything could have happened, but I didn’t expect to fall. It would have been my second podium of the year but, above all, I would have brought home important points for the championship, and now I’d still be in the game.”
Can’t you see the glass even somewhat half full?
“To avoid jumping off a terrace this evening, I have to think it was a nice weekend, in which I rode well. I could have fought for the victory, and we’re following a very interesting direction for the set up. The championship is over for me, but I still have good reason to be fast between now and the end of the season.”
Have you definitely drawn a line on the title?
“I have a disadvantage of fifty-eight points, but it’s also true that it’s not over until the math says so. But I already have three zeros, one for the breakdown and the others for two errors in a row. There are still many races left, we just have to be fast.”
It’s not often that you make a mistake twice in a row.
“It was completely different last week in Misano. I wasn’t okay with the bike, and I wouldn’t have had a good race anyway. Also, I was under the weather Saturday and Sunday. I wasn’t fit, and I made a mistake. Today was something else. I wanted to try to win, and I was at the limit. They’re different mistakes, but you should never make two in a row if you want to fight it out for the top three in the championship.”
Your brother, Marini, didn’t make mistakes.
“He helped me stomach my mistake with his win. Luca impressed me a lot in how he rode. He was like a car. He made no mistakes and had a perfect style. I have to really compliment him, and I hope he doesn’t find a place in the MotoGP for next year and remains stays in the Moto2,” he said laughing.