The Barcelona circuit has reserved a surprise for all the riders, and it’s not one of those greeted with a smile, even if Valentino Rossi tried to joke about it. “When I entered the track, it seemed like they were playing a joke on me. It was almost a shock. There was very little grip,” the Doctor said. He’s not the only one who thought this, but all they can do now is adapt to the conditions and try to get the most out of it.
He finished the day in 10th place today and is more optimistic than what the rankings might suggest.
“There’s lots, lots less grip than in Misano,” was his comparison. “But it’s always like this in Barcelona, and I still like this track. I’m tenth, but both my pace and sensations on the bike are good, even if the bike is difficult to control. The rear slips a lot, and you have to ride in a different manner.”
There are also those who criticized Michelin’s choice to bring the same tires planned for the original date of the Catalan GP.
“According to Michelin, the conditions are similar to those in June. It doesn’t seem like June to me but the end of September,” Valentino smiled. " I don’t think there was time to change them, so we’ll have to make do. We’re all in difficulty. The choice is open, both for the front and the rear, between the soft and medium compounds. I hope it doesn’t rain so that the conditions will improve and there’ll be more grip on Sunday.”
The wind also created some problems.
“When exiting the last corner, there was a slightly lateral gust of wind, and it was almost scary on the straight. The bike moved a lot,” Rossi said. “It seems like it’ll drop tomorrow, and it’s difficult to say now if those who were in front today will also be on Sunday. It’ll depend a lot on everyone’s work and conditions.”
Meanwhile, the young riders continue to show off, and there’s talk of a generational change in the MotoGP.
“I don’t think there’s a clear explanation,” he stated. "There’s a new generation of riders who are ready to reach the top. I think they’ve learned a lot from the Moto2. A class that helps you understand the MotoGP. There’s Binder who’s fast and a rookie, then Bagnaia, Oliveira, and Quartararo who have an extra year of experience. They learned well in the Moto2, but then you have to acknowledge their qualities. They’re competitive and will be the future of the MotoGP.”
But they’ll still have to deal with the “old” Rossi, certainly for 2021. The decision was made, and it was the results that convinced him to continue.
“Last year was very frustrating,” he admitted. “From the Mugello race onwards, I had lost my way. I was struggling really hard. Mugello had been a nightmare, but then there were other disastrous races, such as Assen, Sachsenring, Aragon, and Valencia. Besides the results, I was unable to ride, to be strong, so I decided to change something in the team. If I had continued to have the same feelings this year too, then it would have been better if I stopped. Instead, the situation has improved, the level is high, and it’s not easy, but we’re working well, and I think I can be stronger. This is what made me decide to continue.”
In 2021, he’ll be changing teams and will wear the Petronas team colors, while Morbidelli will be on the other side of the garage.
“Franco is going really strong,” Valentino continued. “Last year was his first in Yamaha, and it took a while, but he reacted well, even towards Quartararo. It was psychologically difficult for him because he was supposed to be Franco the front man. He’s improved, he’s training like hell, and he’s doing great. Without the problems in Jerez and in Austria, which wasn’t his fault, he would be ahead in the standings with the fittest youngsters: Quartararo, Vinales, and Mir. It’ll be tough having him as a teammate next year.”