After outstanding qualifiers where he finished with the fourth best time, we might have expected something more from Valentino Rossi. The 9-time world champion and multiple winner at Phillip Island led the race for the first two laps, only to suffer consistent regression until falling all the way back to eighth place.
What did it feel like to be at the head of the pack? That hadn’t happened for you for a long time.
“It’s always great to be out front, especially today for my 400th race. In those moments, you don’t think about much - Rossi said - You just try to stay one hundred percent focused to ride the bike as best you can.”
What didn’t work? Judging from the early laps, the podium could have been within your potential.
“Today I was fast in general, but we were slow on the straight - Valentino said - Every lap I lost a position and the situation occurred with another rider and then with another. I didn’t have the speed and then, at a certain point in the race, I didn’t have enough to recover. When I had a go, I tried to ride smoothly without making mistakes, because I knew I had other riders behind me.”
Are these acceleration and speed problems due just to the fine tuning of the bike?
“I found a good balance for the bike - Rossi said – and in braking I felt very good. I was lacking a bit of grip at the rear. That is the big Yamaha theme in this second part of the season. We need to think about it and try to improve.”
Now you’re off to Malaysia for the Sepang round, the penultimate of the year. What expectations do you have for the race?
“Last year in Sepang I was very fast, but it’s difficult to make predictions. The track and the conditions are completely different, and it will also be more difficult physically. We’ll see.”
Dovizioso was the last Italian to win in the smallest engine capacity class, in 2004. Today Andrea was joined by Lorenzo Dalla Porta who took the championship title back to Italy after 15 years.
“I watched Dalla Porta grow up and I am truly happy for him - he said - He also raced on our team, but he injured his shoulder and was unable to ride up to his full potential. Today is the best day of his life.”
The Academy seems to be more and more projected toward Moto2, isn’t it?
“Unfortunately, we have a group of riders who are too old for Moto3 - Rossi joked - But next year would could battle with Vietti in Moto3 again.”
Audio collected by Matteo Aglio