The French air is good for the Yamahas that, after the disaster in Jerez, puffed out their chests in Le Mans, taking the entire front row. Viñales, Rossi and Zarco were the wonder trio in qualifying, but in FP4 the three also showed that they had the best pace.
“Logically, I am satisfied with the front row. We worked well and it seems like the M1 likes both this track and this asphalt”, Valentino smiles.
No regrets for not being on pole?
“When you get so close it is always a pity. If Miller had been 50 yards farther ahead I could have done it. That’s the way it went, but more than the position, the feelings I had in the saddle are important.”
You are in a good position to defend the championship lead.
“Leading the standings is important, but right now I need to think corner by corner rather than about championship points. In any case, the most important thing is something else: riding a good race and dedicating it to Nicky and his family. Unfortunately, that is the only thing that we can do for him.”
How difficult is it to race with certain thoughts?
“They are always in your mind. As I said, we cannot do any more than ride a good race, although that is unfortunately not much for him.”
You will also have a golden opportunity for redemption after the black weekend in Jerez…
“I am pleased with the work we have done, but it is only Saturday. I was fast both in terms of pace and on my flying lap, but tomorrow we will need to see what pace the Ducatis and especially the Hondas have, including Pedrosa even if he is starting from behind.”
“The rear tyre choice. In theory all the option could be used in the race.”
The battle between Yamahas also seems tight…
“Today we were really fast, with Maverick the fastest, followed by me and then Johann.”
Zarco has proven to be aggressive in the last few races…
“Like many other riders, but the real problem is that he has the pace to contend for the podium, maybe even the win. Johann was a big surprise, not because we didn’t know that he was fast, but because he exceeded all expectations.”
Yesterday in front of the fans he said that you are like a god and that he would like to take your place...
“Thanks (he laughs) but I have a contract for next year too and then I’ll decide my future. He’ll have to wait.”
Changing the subject, yesterday in Safety Commission the decision was made to go back to the 2016 front tyre…
“As I said, there is not a big difference between it and the new one. It also depends a lot on riding style. In any case, at Mugello the soft compound 2017 would certainly have been usable.”
There was a bit of an argument between Lorenzo and Miller in that meeting. Jack apparently told Jorge that ‘opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, so keep yours to yourself.”
“That remark slipped out. Maybe it’s an Australian saying (he laughs) I don’t think it was particularly harsh. Anyway, it went well for Jack today with his accident. He was very lucky.”