It was another dark Saturday for Valentino Rossi ,and the memory of a second row in the first Qatar GP is fading. The Doctor will be starting from the 17th box on the grid tomorrow in Portimão, and his only certainty right now seems to be that he’ll still have to suffer. Despite everything, he’s trying to remain calm, “because, if there’s one thing I've learned in my long career, is that getting angry or nervous is useless. You have to stay focused and work on everything,” he explained.
Which doesn’t mean he’s swallowed the bitter pill.
“On the contrary. I feel really bad,” he specified. “I’d like to fight for better positions. I’m worried because, even on this track, I’m struggling, I’m suffering. We’re trying to work on everything, from set-up to my riding style but, right now, I’m not as fast as I’d like to be.”
And, as if that weren’t enough, he’s the only Yamaha rider in these conditions.
“The two bikes of the factory team, Quartararo’s and Vinales’, are faster, and this also worries me,” Valentino continued. “I thought I was more competitive. Now we just have to keep working, try to improve step by step.”
There’s really not much to keep from these two days in Portugal, and the problems seem to be identical to those of Losail, although the tracks are almost the opposite.
“It’s hard to move forward, but every track is different,” he explained. “It’s doing a bit better here. I’m also faster than in 2020, but I’m not in the group of the best, and tomorrow will be tough. I’ll start from behind, and my pace isn’t great. I improved my pace a bit today. I can be consistent, but I’m not fast enough. I managed to improve in braking, but I still lack grip in acceleration and, in qualifying, in the second attempt, the tire didn’t perform as well as the first. But I don0t think I could have entered the Q2.”
With this scenario, it’s best we talk about something else. Like Bagnaia’s and Vinales’ laps that were annulled.
“They’re two different cases,” he began. “ In Maverick’s case, they’re stricter this year on the track, and they have sensors in the green painted parts, which are the ones that tell if you pass over them. Seeing the images, it would seem that Vinales’ lap is valid, but the sensors say the opposite. We just have to stay further away from the edge of the track.”
And for Bagnaia?
“In my opinion, we need to enhance the use of light panels, which we tried in Qatar and here,” was Valentino’s opinion. “It was impossible today for Pecco to see the yellow flag, because he was bent to the left and the flag was to the right. Unfortunately, that’s the rule.”
Rossi’s suggestion is to have more light panels.
“You need a lot and bigger, so you also need a lot of money. The flags are obsolete for today’s MotoGP. You see the panels better, but they must be placed at all points of the track. In Pecco's case, if he had only been on the left, nothing would have changed.”