Valentino Rossi achieved his first goal, that of placing himself in the top ten in the rankings and securing a place in the Q2. It was the priority of all the riders today, considering that the temperatures will be higher for the FP3 and improving will be difficult for everyone. So now the Doctor can sleep peacefully tonight and focus on the details tomorrow.
“I feel pretty good,” he said. "My goal of being in the top ten was important today, and I feel good on the bike. I’ve already improved my test time. I’m less than half a second behind Miller but 9th, that's how the MotoGP goes.”
What would you still like to improve?
“I like the balance of the bike, so I only have to focus on the details, like the electronics for power management. However, the choice of tires will be crucial for the race, because today it was hotter than expected, and it looks like tomorrow too, but the temperatures on Sunday could be lower. In addition, of course, qualifications will be important.”
Does Yamaha have any weapons against the Ducatis on this track?
“The M1 is usually fast in Losail. Today, I followed both Miller and Bagnaia. They’re fast. Their bike accelerates well, and they’re really in shape. At the moment, they’re the strongest team. It’s easy to say they’re favored, but I realized that I was faster than them in corners. It’ll be hard against them for everyone, but the fact is that no one knows what’ll happen in the second part of the race. We don’t know and Ducati doesn’t. This is why tomorrow we’ll have to work to try to understand it, but we’ll only have the definitive answer on Sunday evening.”
Are the Suzukis in trouble?
“I’m actually afraid of Rins. Today he had a great time, and he’s usually more in difficulty in practice. Also, the Suzukis come out in the second part of the race, because they can use soft tires and stress them less. Sunday the opponents will be tough, especially Alex, but I don’t rule out Mir, because he’s the world champion and today he was out of the top ten by a hair.”
Do you feel ready for the race?
“I’m happy with how I started this weekend. I feel strong, and I ride well. In the tests, I worked on my style and it worked, plus I feel fit, more than last year. I feel good on the team, and we’re working well in the garage.”
Strong winds are forecasted for Sunday. Is there a risk that the race will be postponed to Monday?
“Everything will depend on the direction in which it blows. In the tests, the wind wasn't crazy, but it brought sand to the track. It’s difficult to understand what’ll happen. Of course, I’d prefer to race on Sunday.”