Silverstone was supposed to be an occasion for Valentino to return to a podium he has missed since April, in Austin. He was starting in the front row and felt competitive. But all his hopes faded after just a few laps. Marquez and Rins flew ahead, then Vinales followed. Rossi's was a 4th place with a bitter taste, especially because of the 10 seconds his team mate got at the finish line.
"I can't be happy. On the contrary, I'm disappointed," the Doctor admitted desolately. "I expected to be stronger, to fight for the podium. I started in front and, in the free practice sessions, I kept a good pace, even in the warm up this morning. I knew that Marc was faster than I was. Rins was a surprise, but I was convinced I'd race at Maverick's level."
“I noticed right from the first laps that I was in trouble with the rear tire. I had no grip. I never managed to have a fast enough pace to stay with the top three. I tried not to let Vinales get away but, towards the middle of the race, I had to slow down because the tire was damaged. I was optimistic, but I ended up suffering instead.”
Do you think it was a flawed tire?
"At the end of the race, it was very damaged, like what happened to Miller and Crutchlow. But it was my problem, not the tire. Compared to Vinales and Quartararo, I suffer more with the rear grip. In fact, Maverick kept the same pace in the race as he did during the tests, unlike me. This afternoon's heat made things worse, and now we have to figure out what to work on so that we wear the tires less."
Does this performance cast doubts on your recent progress?
It's really too bad, but it was still a good weekend for me. Only in Austin was I as competitive as I was here at Silverstone , but I got on the podium there."
In a few days, you'll be at Misano for two days of testing. What are your expectations?
"Those will be two very important days for developing next year's bike. We haven't yet discussed in detail what the program will be, but I hope that Yamaha will bring interesting things both for next year and for the rest of this season. Like I said, we need to improve in acceleration and limit wear on the tires."
Almost all the competition uses a carbon swingarm. On paper, this could help.
Why don't you have one?
"Good question," he said smiling. I've asked the Japanese the same thing many times, and I hope we get it as soon as possible. It's still not yet clear when it will happen, but I think we won't have to wait much longer."