"Assen is heaven for every MotoGP rider", was Valentino's definition of the circuit, but it might also turn out to be hell given the uncertainty that prevails in the premier class. If you add the whims of the weather and the choice of tires, the result of tomorrow’s race could be anything but clear-cut. This is the heart-felt hope of Rossi, who has had a good weekend so far, gaining direct access into Q2 even though he will start 12th.
“Today was quite a positive day for me, I felt good on the bike since the morning and, in the afternoon, with warmer weather, I had a good pace. I was hoping to improve my qualifying time by 2 or 3 tenths, but I found myself on my own and I didn't make it – was his regret - Now we have to wait, because we were lucky to find it dry all day, we hope it is too tomorrow".
Have you got an idea of the level on the track?
“Quartararo and Vinales are the strongest to the eye, but from 3rd to me we have a similar pace, we are all in 3 tenths. I'd be happy to have the same sensations on the bike as today and to be with the group of good ones ”.
You mentioned Vinales, how do you explain his transformation from last place at Sachsenring to today's pole?
“Now it is very, very difficult for everyone. Every bike and every rider is competitive and the track makes a lot of difference, but it also matters how the weekend goes. Between being a bit unlucky or making a mistake and being able to put the right tire at the right time, there can even be 12 positions, which makes everything very complicated even psychologically. At Assen Maverick has always had something extra, I think this track has helped him to give his best ”.
You were speaking about the tires, is the choice open?
"Here the asphalt is very good and this makes the differences between the three options less pronounced than usual. Tomorrow we will see different choices at the rear depending on the various riding styles and bikes. I have a hard time saying what kind of race it will be, in MotoGP it can change a lot even from day to day and it will also depend a lot on the weather. "
Michelin expected no one to use the hard on the rear, but many used it in FP4.
“They don't know which tire will work either. You always ask us a lot of questions about tires and it seems like we don't want to answer them or that we are stupid, but the truth is that for us too it is always a total surprise. Taramasso expected no one to use the hard on the rear, but in FP4 with that I had a pace that was 6 tenths better than the medium, that means 20 seconds in the race: a lifetime! But this is valid for today, I don't know what will happen tomorrow in the race. In Barcelona on Saturday with the hard I was 7th in FP4 and I was lapping in 1’40.3, the next day, with the same conditions, my pace was 1’41.2 and I also crashed. That's how things are, the cards are always shuffled ”.
Before you said you had lapped in qualifying with no one in front, did you see what happened in Q1 with so many riders waiting for a good tow?
“We all hope to have someone ahead, but then everyone chooses how long to wait, he has his own way of thinking. For me it is okay if I find a benchmark, otherwise I will do it on my own, I am not waiting there. In Q1 it seems to me that someone did it for a long time ”.
And there was another bad accident in Moto3 ...
"The risks are very high and not only in the race, because they are always attached to each other from the first session and if one slides, there is always someone right behind. The race is a thrilling 20 laps, but now even the practices are like this and it is a big risk ”.