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MotoGP, Viñales: "I have the right pace for the race and Rossi will be at the front too"

The statements by Viñales, Iannone, Marquez, Morbidelli and Martin in the Losail press conference on Saturday

MotoGP: Viñales: "I have the right pace for the race and Rossi will be at the front too"

The combined times of the three free practice sessions gave Maverick Viñales the first pole position of the new year without him having to earn it in qualifying. Saturday at Losail will therefore be filed away with many question marks and one certainty: the Yamaha riding Spaniard will start from the first spot on the grid tomorrow: “It was a strange day to be in Qatar – Maverick commented – During this week I was able to feel good up to free practice, plus I have a good race pace. Obviously I will have to tackle the warmup with the right confidence, hoping for good weather.”

The Spaniard also talked about the decision to cancel the sessions scheduled for today: “It was hard to get out on the track since the situation was very complicated – he added – I can understand how some riders do not like this choice. Personally, I am a bit disappointed, because I did not test the bike with the race setup.”

Viñales shows confidence anyway:  “Tomorrow we will need to make a few changes compared to the tests because of the grip – he warned – I’ll have to push hard from the start, because there will be a lot of riders battling like Marquez and Dovi.” The start becomes fundamental for Viñales: “The first laps will be the most complicated – he commented – I’m convinced that Valentino and Iannone will also be in the battles to stay at the front.”

Alongside him, The Maniac is well aware that he has a huge chance on which to capitalize: “Being on the front row is important – he commented – I could not have hoped for better. In the race we will need to try and get close, taking advantage of the warmup tomorrow.” On the cancellation of today’s scheduled sessions: “Safety was fundamental today – he commented – The track was very dangerous.” As for the race, there are quite a few question marks, despite his step forward yesterday: “In free practice I worked well, managing to find confidence in the front – he analysed – I think I have a good chance with the soft tyres. I still don’t know where I stand in terms of race pace since there are various aspects to consider, like grip. If it should help, we could have good chances.

Marc Marquez was also in the Losail media centre and, when asked what he thought about the sessions being cancelled today, number 93 was clear: “I think it was the right decision – he said – Saturday is always dedicated to preparing for the race. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything with the weather. The track was dangerous.” For the Spaniard, the race promises to be one where he will need to come back from behind: “Being in the third spot on the grid is not the best, but the front row is still a good starting place. The podium would definitely be a good result – he added – we will work for that.” On the grip situation: “I don’t know if it will change or not. It will certainly still be difficult.”

In the comparison with Viñales, the Honda standard bearer seems to be struggling with something: “I have a few more doubts than Maverick – he admitted – but yesterday I felt good. Viñales has a better pace than the other riders, but I just want to finish on the podium.”

In Qatar Franco Morbidelli celebrates his first pole. There is a touch of disappointment on his face: “It would have been nice to go out and earn it on the track – the Marc VDS standard bearer said – I think that the track will dry out on Sunday. For the warmup it might still be dirty, but not for the race.” On the other side of the table was Jorge Martin, who will start in front of the rest tomorrow afternoon: “Today was a simple day – he said ironically – I’m satisfied with the performance on used tyres, but we will have to find the best setting.”

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Translated by Jonathan Blosser

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