Valentino had many expectations before arriving in Barcelona, remembering his good weekend last year, but the initial feedback wasn’t positive at all. After Friday’s free practice, Rossi has a 19th time, with the certainty of having made a wrong move in the afternoon.
“It wasn’t that bad in the morning,” the Doctor explained. “My position wasn’t great. I was fifteenth, but I didn’t have the new tire in the end. We had used the Mugello set-up with some adjustments and, all in all, I felt good on the bike.”
Instead, what happened in the afternoon?
“We changed the weight balance to improve braking, because that phase is very important now in the MotoGP. I actually improved in braking, but I was slow in corner entry. I was suffering from understeering. I couldn’t get the bike to turn and maintain an ideal line. I didn’t have a good pace, and I wasn’t fast even in the flying lap. We made a move that bothered me because I couldn’t ride well anymore. Tomorrow we’ll definitely backtrack and see what our potential is.”
Are these experiments the consequence of not having yet found a basic set-up?
“It’s a normal thing that all riders do. We tried to find something better when braking.”
Could the data from last year, when you were competitive here, help you?
“We’ve taken a different direction for the setup since then, and it’s difficult to compare. Furthermore, both the temperatures and the tires are different.”
Speaking of tires. Morbidelli went fast with the hard on the rear.
“I like that type of tire. It worked well in Portimao, but there are other tracks, like Jerez, where it was impossible to use. Franco went fast today, and I’ll also definitely try it tomorrow, hoping it’ll do better.”
Many riders complain about the grip of the asphalt. Do you agree with them?
“There has always been little grip in Barcelona, and the tires suffer because there are a lot of fast and long corners where you are leaning for a long time. They quickly lose their performance. You can work with the set-up but, in the end, you have to live with this track’s characteristic. In the race, those who manage to rider better with little grip will have an advantage.”
What do you think of the new Turn 10?
“It’s very technical. A point where it’s difficult to find the right trajectory, but I like it more. It’s much more similar to the old version.”