Valentino Rossi's expectations were very different. Instead, the Doctor has to make due once again. In fact, the nine-time world champion will start from a tenth position on the grid, in view of an Austrian Grand Prix where Marc Marquez seems to be irrepressible.
In the end, an error ruined the Tavullia rider's performance. But he doesn't want to give up.
"I'm not very happy with my position in qualifying, given that I was expecting something more," n.46 started. "My pace with the race tires was good, and I managed to do well this morning. I struggled in the afternoon, but I expected it, since I worked with a different set-up."
On the last useful lap, Rossi had only two tenths of a gap from T2, then the error that upset his plans.
"Unfortunately, during my good lap, I made a mistake at T3, and I missed the opportunity of a perfect lap. In the end, between the 5th and 11th position, there are only two tenths, so the situation is very balanced. Being in the fourth row is not the best, since I expected to start from the second or at least from the third. But, besides that, my pace is good.”
Valentino then tries to give an overview of the situation.
"Besides Marquez and Dovi, we're all really close in the first eleven. Maybe Maverick has a bit more, but we'll only figure it out better tomorrow. We'll have to start well in the race and be good in the first corner, then try to improve in T3."
Meanwhile, rain is expected tonight, something that could make it an uphill climb for Yamaha.
"It could, but it's not certain. The situation was the same in Brno, but I didn't suffer that much in the race. The best thing is to have a completely dry track. The Red Bull Ring? In my long career, I've never seen easy tracks. It's true that there are ten turns here and some long straights. In some ways, it could be easier, compared to tracks like Austin. The fact is that the situation becomes difficult when you break hard, given that you're already down-shifting three gears at once in some corners. Also, like I said, I have a really hard time in T3."
Besides Rossi, Danilo Petrucci will also be starting from behind.
"Starting so far back has only disadvantages, and one of these is Petrucci and Pol Espargarò, since they're fast on the straight, and it's difficult to pass them. So I'll have to try not to lose positions, attempting to follow my lines to be effective. In the end, we're all practically the same with the pace, from the fourth to the eleventh. That's why I believe that the first three to four turns will be very important. Obviously, then we'll have to understand the conditions if it rains tonight.
However, there is an encouraging aspect, namely Yamaha's performance in T4.
"They are medium-range corners, where you take advantage of the distance, and that's one point in our favor. I really like T4, and that also depends on the rider's taste. The tires? Tomorrow will be easier, since there won't be major differences."
Audio recorded by Matteo Aglio