The time to enjoy the podium is over. That sweet taste that Valentino enjoyed in the days following the Argentina GP is replacing the adrenaline rush that precedes the race. One that doesn’t take place just on any track... but in Marquez's realm. As if that weren't enough, he and Honda seem to be even more fit than in the past and thinking about beating him seems impossible.
"That's what his numbers say here, but you can't leave home feeling already defeated. We have to try," said Rossi.
But could it be an even more difficult undertaking than in the past?
"Could Marc be even more devastating? My answer is 'yes'. In Argentina, his weekend was really at the highest level. He never made a mistake, and the gap to the finish was really big. This is his track and, with how he's riding, and with how powerful the Honda is, he could be even faster than usual. Having said that, even our opponents have improved, and we have to try."
Is it frustrating getting 10 seconds on you in a race?
"I don't know if that's the right word, but it certainly isn't fun. In some cases, we need to focus only on ourselves and try to improve."
Is Plan B waiting for Jerez for a rematch?
"In recent years, Yamaha has been better in Austin than in Jerez. I think it makes no sense to wait for Europe. We must work well, like we did in Argentina, and be ready for the race."
What are your chances on paper?
"I was slow the first year we raced here. It took me a while to learn the track. but from 2014 onward, it didn't go that bad. In the last two editions, I was always pretty strong. Last year I had hoped for the podium but, to make up for it, Vinales had a good race."
How would you define this circuit?
"It's a very technical and difficult track. In a way, it reminds me of Silverstone. It requires a lot from your body. Then there are 20 different corners, all different from one another: you go from hairpin bends in first gear, to long corners, to changes in direction. It's a complicated track. There are lots of secrets to discover and many points where you can waste a lot of time."
The downside is all the holes...
"It's a real shame because they ruin an otherwise fantastic circuit and that was also recently built. I think there is something wrong with the foundation. They tried to solve the problem the past few years, but the situation didn't improve."
You'll need training at the Ranch. You also changed your track record during the past few days...
"It means I'm in good shape, but I don't think going that speed in MotoGP is automatic ( he laughed). The times at the Ranch change a lot depending on the conditions. There are two or three days in the year in which they're perfect, so everyone tries the 'time attack'. It was a good fight against Baldassarri."
With the hope that on Sunday he can do the same against Marquez.