The Le Mans sky didn't smile on the MotoGP riders today, with a track that only allowed for slick tyre in the final minutes of FP1 while the afternoon proved to be constantly wet. Having indications in this weather is useful though, something Valentino Rossi well knows, 8th in combined practice and 10th in the second practice.
“Aside from the final position, I got on well with the Yamaha today - explains the Doctor - Conditions made it difficult for sure, it was important for us to improve confidence after struggling at Jerez”.
You had to settle for riding in the wet...
“I was consistently competitive, especially in the afternoon, and could have done better but I put the new tyre in too late and needed a couple more laps to get it up to temperature. I did better than at Jerez anyway”.
The weather is looking uncertain tomorrow too, though it should be better on Sunday. Will the race be something of a lottery?
“Riding in the wet, you can get some idea of what's needed in the dry too, but in that case it's another story. It won't be a lottery but some measure of luck will be needed for sure”.
This evening a decision will be made about which front tyre to use from Mugello onwards, what do you think?
“Firstly, we don't know why the old tyre magically disappeared, in the sense that we had it in November but by February it had gone. It would be interesting to find out. Many riders have asked to try it again and two thirds preferred it after the Jerez test”.
“I'm ready for anything, I've shown that I can also be competitive with the new one. We're not talking about a big difference in the end”.
At this point, some might ask to reintroduce the winglets. Dovizioso pointed out after the Mugello test that it's hard to control the bike over the hump at the end of the straight..
“I don't think the bikes are dangerous without winglets, we raced for years without them. In fact last year, Jorge and I broke engines using them, as they caused the rear to lift at that point. We have anti-wheelie controls to help, or they could flatten out that hump. I don't think it's critical”.
VINALES: CLOSE TO THE FASTEST IN THE WET - Rossi's performance today was matched by that of his team-mate, they swapped places in fact,w ith Vinales 10th overall and 8th in the afternoon
“I already felt good this morning, sacrificing laps with slicks to continue to use the rain tyres- tells Maverick - I was close to the fastest guys in the afternoon too, grip continued to improve”.
Have you used the new frame tested at Jerez?
“No , and I'm using the set-up of the first races as a base and am getting on well”.
Does the fresh asphalt offer better grip?
“Definitely, last year it was much harder to ride at this track in the race. I have to say that the Michelin tyres are also working very well”.