Among all the surprises that day one in Qatar had in store, the most shocking was that relating to Valentino. Rossi was the quickest during session one, but then slipped down to the bottom of the timesheets come session two. It's a long way from 1st to 16th, and the Doctor could have done without it.
“How would I define the day? Strange - he comments - I think the reality is that I wasn't as comfortable as i looked in FP1, but also not as bad as it looked in FP2”.
“We didn't change a lot between the two sessions, just a couple of details, but the front tyre was destroyed on the right side after just 5 laps and I don't think it was a defective tyre. It's more likely that we're out of balance”.
Are you worried?
“It's only normal that I am, something strange happened, the conditions don't justify such a change. In testing nothing like this happened, clearly we made a mistake today. It seems that, to be fast, we need to stay on a very narrow path, and not deviate”.
Yet the other Yamahas were quick, might their data help you to find an answer?
“It's true, Vinales, Quartararo and Morbidelli were all ready good and it's positive to see so many M1s up front. As I've said, in the first session I thought I'd found something better, then in the afternoon I had that issue with the tyre and it was all more difficult. Having more data is definitely helpful, but we have different styles so I think I'll continue to follow my path”.
What do you expect tomorrow?
“After what happened today, it's hard to say (he laughs). If I consider session one I'm optimistic, but then it's the opposite if I consider session two. There are so many riders inside a second too, so any small issue means you can find yourself very far behind”.
Right now you're well outside qualification for Q2…
“That's the biggest problem and it looks like conditions will be worse for FP3 tomorrow. I'm not saying it's impossible to improve tomorrow, but it'll be very difficult, also because you have to be very quick to be inside the top ten”.
Marquez didn't have that issue today…
“He made a great lap, he did really well and he also appears to have the best race pace. Then I'd say there's Vinales, followed by Dovizioso and Petrucci who have good pace. I'd say they are the strongest right now”.