It's no secret that Valentino's relationship with the Motorland in Aragon has never been idyllic, and today's race added yet another chapter to this stormy union. An 8th place even behind Aleix Espargarò (no offense, Aprilia) is a Sunday that should be forgotten. Then add the almost 18 seconds behind his teammate, Vinales.
"I knew it would be difficult to fight for the podium, but it went worse than expected," admitted Rossi at the mics. "My problem? It's always the same. I had to slow down after a few laps because I had no more grip on the rear."
Was it a tire problem?
"No, it was our problem . All the Yamahas used the hard compound for the rear, but both Maverick and Quartararo had problems 5 laps from the end. I did 5 laps after the start. From one pass to the next, I had to raise my times by 7 tenths."
What does that mean?
"That we didn't work well. Like I already explained, we changed the balance of the bike a bit and improved in the second part of the season, but this problem of lack of traction remained. We must try to understand why, from here to the end of the year."
You said you didn't work well in the pit. What should be changed: working method, people?
"In my opinion it's a problem tied to the bike's set-up, rather than a new working method. We need the right idea that will allow us to solve it."
All the riders on the podium had the soft tire on the rear. Couldn't you have chosen it?
"It would have been an advantage to be able to use it, but it simply wasn't working on the Yamaha. Even the men at Michelin recommended the hard one. I was hoping to be able to stay in the top 5, but I was having a lot of problems again."
Did the track conditions amplify the problems?
"This circuit has always been complicated for me, and we didn't do well this year either. The asphalt didn't have much grip, kind of like what happened in Misano, if not worse, but I started off well on Friday. The first problems started on Saturday, and today was the worst day, but I don't know why."
Vinales says that by using the latest additions brought by Yamaha, it's more difficult to perfect the bike.
"I had already suffered this grip problem in Austria, then at Silverstone, so before the new material arrived. I think it's tied to something else: the rear tire slips a lot when bending, so you go slower and it wears out quicker."
Compared to the Ducati, top speed is also a big problem.
"It's our weak point, and Yamaha engineers are well aware of it. It would be important to improve it for next year because it's much easier to improve your times on a straight line and also to fight against your opponents."
You'll be in Thailand in 2 weeks, what do you expect?
"It's difficult to say because the situation is constantly changing. I had a good race last year. I almost got on the podium. We hope to repeat ourselves."