Valentino Rossi will start in fourth place in the Argentinian round at Termas di Rio Hondo and, considering that he didn't have direct access to Q2 in the 2018 Malaysian Grand Prix, this should give him some hope for the race. The M1 seems to adapt very well to this track. There are four Yamaha in the top seven on the grid, so Rossi feels he has a good chance and doesn't hide it.
"I feel fast, but there are at least five or six very strong riders. I'm happy to start fourth, and I'm sorry I'm not in the front row. I'm not even far from pole. I only have two tenths to go."
A weekend that started out good is continuing really well.
"Yes, even yesterday was a good day. We immediately found a good balance for the bike, and we did well all day long. We improved a bit today, as well. Both this morning and in the afternoon. I feel good, and I have a good pace for the race, but we're close to the front, so it'll be important to do everything right."
The M1 looks like another bike in your hands, compared to Qatar.
"All four M1s ended up in Q2, so that means the bike does really well here. We have to wait for the race, but it looks like everything is really ok. It's also important to see that I, Maverick, Franco, and Fabio all managed to ride really well. The difference from one track to another depends on many factors. The layout of the track, the tires, the asphalt. Here, in Argentina, our bike seems to be working well, so we'll try to have a good race and stay up front."
You were good in preserving your tires in Qatar. Will it be necessary here?
"I didn't preserve my tires in Qatar at all! There, I started from the center of Doha, so I didn't preserve a thing!"
Could Marquez end up racing alone?
"In my opinion, Marquez is the one who has the most on all of us, even with different tires, so he can decide which tires to race with, and he's the favorite to win. We got a bit closer, but Marc still remains the favorite. He goes further. That's what everyone else's problem is."
As always, the tires to choose for the race are a problem. Which are you looking to use?
"We'll need to understand what decision to make with the tires, and we'll especially have to see what the weather is like tomorrow. Now we're work on fixing some things, then we'll see. The point is that I can race with both soft tires, or with a hard one in front and a medium for the rear. It'll depend a lot on the conditions and the temperature. The weather seems quite uncertain."
If it rains, will that be bad or good for you?
"Rain? It would be like starting from scratch. Usually, we're not bad in wet conditions. In Valencia, I was very fast. But this is another track, and it could be a different story. We hope to try the bike in those conditions before the race. So, if it rains, it would be better to have a wet warm-up."
Let's talk about four-wheels. As an enthusiast, what do you think about Leclerc's pole?
"I'm happy for Ferrari because it's going strong. Then, it's really nice to see someone who just got there go really strong. As a fan, I expected a lot from Leclerc, since he's a driver who has won wherever he’s raced and, last year, he was very strong even with Alfa. It's nice for Ferrari to have a young, strong driver because, in the past few years, it has always raced with more experienced drivers like Vettel, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Alonso. All really strong, but already mature. Instead, it's nice to have a young, strong driver."