Good but not that good is how we should describe Valentino Rossi's first day on the Brno track, the litmus test to see if the modifications made at Jerez were the solution to all his problems. It's hard to say at the moment because in the morning the Doctor was 8th, but in the afternoon, he slipped to 12th.
“I didn't ride well on my fast lap - he admitted - but I had a good pace. I am convinced of the set-up used in Spain, I will continue to work on it and there is still a lot to do. Tomorrow morning the goal is to get into the top 10 and then I'll have to improve, because there are points on the track where I'm not fast. Also, I will have to decide which rear tyre to use in the race, in my opinion it will be difficult to ride with the soft, so the choice is between the medium and the hard, which are very similar. The problem is that there is little grip, the tyre slips and has a great deal of wear. "
The fault lies above all with the asphalt, which has not been redone for 12 years and season after season the situation can only get worse.
"We expected it, it has been like this for years - explained Valentino - Brno continues to be a beautiful track, but the asphalt is far from being fantastic and is a disadvantage for everyone".
In Barcelona, two years ago, the riders dug in their heels and managed to have a brand-new track. However, things are not that simple here.
“We will certainly talk about it together with the other riders in the Safety Commission, we will push to do some work, but the real problem is the money - he underlined - We are talking about several million euros and who will give that sort of money? I understand that this is a difficult moment for the circuit, there are no spectators and it doesn't work a lot. Usually we riders are listened to, but then the owners and Dorna decide. If there is no money, not much can be done ”.
MotoGP also has the problem of an increasingly crowded infirmary, today it was Bagnaia who came off the worst and will have to undergo surgery after a fractured tibia. What are the causes of so many injuries?
“Going to Jerez in July with 60 degrees on the asphalt didn't help, it's not the best time, but it was due to an emergency situation. Here in Brno there are a lot of holes and little grip, it is difficult to control the bike. The heat in Spain and the asphalt conditions here resulted in many crashes," replied the Doctor.
On the other hand, there is no lack of spectacle on the track, looking at the gaps in the standings today the MotoGP category looked a bit like Moto2, with 13 riders in 8 tenths of a second.
“They are crazy gaps - commented the Doctor - Dorna has worked hard in recent years to ensure that the level is similar and I would say that they have succeeded. The frozen engines, the one-make tyre, the single electronics, are all factors that have led to this. Furthermore, the riders have become much more professional, they train a lot and study before the GP to be ready as early as Friday morning. From the inside it is stressful, but for those who watch from home it is very nice ”.
Maverick Vinales: "I have the chance to fight for the title, it's up to me to take it"
One of the examples of riders who never back off from hard work is Maverick Vinales. Today the Spaniard placed his M1 in 5th place, but he is not completely satisfied. Tyre management will be essential for him too for a good race.
"This track is completely different from Jerez and the tyres work differently - he explained - Tomorrow will be important to understand many things and I am optimistic because I know we can improve - both me and the bike".
Poor grip is the enemy everyone has to face…
“It will be crucial to get the most out of the tyres - continued Maverick - We are trying to understand how to do that, because we have to solve the problem but we have some cards to play. Compared to last year, there is less grip and also a lot of holes, it is difficult and you have to adapt. "
Also, because Vinales wants to (and perhaps must) beat Fabio, after having followed him home on two occasions at Jerez.
"I'm not focused on Fabio but on myself - he said - The only benchmark I have is me, my feelings and my riding. Today the goal for Sunday is to get on the podium; if I can win, I'll try. I know I have the chance to fight for the title this year, it's up to me to take it. "