The important thing is to finish, sang Italian legend Mina. Today, however, it was also said by Valentino, who desperately needed to see the chequered flag. It doesn’t matter if he finished 11th, because Rossi finishing a GP again was the most important thing, even if the race produced the usual problems.
"I'm in a particular situation, when you have to get back to being competitive at these levels you have to do it step by step, I learned it during my career - explains the Doctor - I haven’t finished a race since the first Misano Grand Prix between falls, breakdowns and Covid, so I needed to get to the bottom of this. Also Valencia for me is the worst track of the whole season and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I struggled all weekend with the grip, I tried many different things but I couldn't have the speed to fight with the best ”.
Any positive notes?
“I was consistent until the end and I felt good physically. In the end I caught up with Bagnaia and Vinales, but on the last lap and I couldn't attack them. There was something positive, next week we will have another race in Portimao, a track that I really like, and everything will depend on how the bike and the tyres work. I hope we can be stronger there ”.
Morbidelli won, it seems a similar situation to what happened in the past with Zarco, when the old bike seemed faster than the new one.
"In 2017 things were a little different because that year's M1 was very different, difficult to ride. Sometimes it was fantastic but on other tracks it was the opposite, besides it was unrideable in the wet. This time the difference between the 2019 and 2020 bikes is not very big. Franco has had an incredible season and at the moment I think he's the fastest rider in MotoGP, the one in the best shape, and that's what made the difference. He managed to react to the blow given to him by Quartararo last year by becoming stronger and I think he will be a problem for everyone next year”.
Given that there are development problems every year, what do you think of Cal Crutchlow's arrival as a test rider?
"There is a basic problem, the one that all the other manufacturers had a very active test team that tested in Europe, while we didn't. We only had one test team in Japan running on tracks - and I've been there - which have nothing to do with the ones we race on. We have to ride on our tracks with our tyres ”.
For this reason Lorenzo arrived…
"Yes, but he did one day in Malaysia and, after the Covid stop, another in Portimao after 8 months. It practically didn't really work. First, Yamaha will need to have a serious test team in Europe next year. I would have liked the test rider to be Dovizioso because he is a very fast, sensitive and highly experienced rider, but Cal is also a rider who can push the bike to the limit if he has the right motivations. More than a tester, you need a serious program”.
Could the problems of lack of rear grip be due to the new tyre?
“We started having them with the Michelins. Our bike worked very well with the Bridgestones, until 2015 it was at the top, probably the best, you could win the World Championships. It is as if we have not quite understood how to get the best out of the Michelins. On paper, this new 2020 tyre was supposed to be for Yamaha, but to me it seemed very similar to 2019. Instead it became Suzuki's tyre, they seem to have understood something more than us ”.
What do you think of Mir's championship win?
“I have already congratulated him because first of all winning in MotoGP in the second year is not something for everyone, few have succeeded. He is very young but he makes no mistakes, he always made the right decisions at crucial moments and he is fast. I think he deserved a lot this championship together with Suzuki, they did an incredible job and their bike is doing very well ”.
Hamilton also won the F1 World Championship…
"I can only give him great compliments, it's his 7th title like me in MotoGP, but I don't care about victories because he's at 94 against my 89. But I can also add those in 250 and 125 and also the other two World Championships (laughs ) ".