From 17th to 4th place thanks to an electronic eye. You can't deny that technology wasn't on Valentino's side (but also on Quartararo's and Vinales') on Friday at Silverstone. At first, the Doctor's time had been annulled because he had supposedly crossed the track limit at Turn 6. An almost millimeter over. So much so that Rossi hadn't even noticed. Then the VAR set things straight.
"Honestly, I was quite surprised when I saw that they removed my time," the Doctor admitted. "You realize it when you leave the track, like what happened to me in Assen. I thought I was on the white line here. I was on it by only a few centimeters, but that was enough."
Team manager Maio Meregalli immediately ran to the Race Direction for an explanation, and the commissioners were already at work.
"They do everything automatically," explained Valentino. It's like the hawk eye in tennis: if a ball touches the white line, it's in, otherwise it's out. It seems like a good way to be more reliable and, at the same time, a precise rule."
In Safety Commission, Quartararo wanted to discuss that point where it's really easy to go over the track limit. Rossi agreed with his teammate.
"There was once grass at the exit of the curve, but it was replaced by cement because it's a very fast point and risky even if you make a slight error," he recalled. "However, now the white line stops too abruptly and, in fact, times were annulled for lots of riders today. It would be better if they made it a bit wider. It would also simplify the work of the commissioners who wouldn't have to check every millimeter at every turn."
The fact remains that Rossi could not be happier to find himself in 4th position.
"Maybe that time won't be enough for me to enter the Q2 directly tomorrow but, in the meantime, I have it, and I'll be able to work in the FP3 with more confidence," he said. "I have to admit that it was a good start, and I left the bike balance almost like the one I had used in Brno and in Austria. It worked. I kept a good pace in both turns, even though I know it's only Friday, and everything can still change."
This looks like a nice opportunity to take advantage of.
"It absolutely is, but we don't have to work for opportunities but to always be fast," he underlined. "I've had a difficult time, but now I'm growing, and we must continue on this path. There is still work to be done on this track. I'm very fast in the second sector, and I'm not bad in the first. It's in the third that I'm not fantastic in the two turns, and I don't have traction in the fourth. We'll work on the electronics and balance, but we'll also have to choose the right tires because the combination of hard ones I used today doesn't convince me."
Before leaving, the Doctor complimented the resurfacing work.
"We're close to perfection " was his opinion. "Now we can use the right trajectories, which we couldn't before because of the holes. The biggest difference is the surface. It's really, much smoother. Even the adherence improved, but to a lesser extent. It has become a real pleasure to drive at Silverstone."
Maverick Vinales: "There's still room for improvement."
Maverick Vinales was also pleased with the day, and he was still in a good mood, even after a fall. His 3rd time confirms this. "And I could have done even better if Abraham hadn't ended up in my fast lap," he emphasized.
Only slight errors in a weekend that started under the aegis of the Yamaha.
"I slipped because I braked too late. I still wanted to put the bike in the turn, and I ended up on the dirty asphalt " The Spanish rider admitted his error. "It was nothing serious, and I was able to get my speed back quickly."
Maverick promotes himself and his team.
"I'm happy with the work done, and I'm sure we'll have room for improvement," he said. "The better grip on the asphalt helps all the Yamahas, but I have to especially fix the engine brake adjustment. I figured out lots of things today. I'm sure that with the medium tire on the rear, I'll have a good race. All I have to do is continue what I'm doing."