Rossi comes fifth overall after the two sessions of Friday’s Free Practice, 0.334 behind leader Marc Marquez.
The first feeling was not so bad: this morning and also this afternoon I was quite fast, we worked a lot. We have some different options and some different settings and also some different tyre choices on the front and the rear. I‘m not so bad, I‘m fifth but I‘m not so far from pole position. All the top riders are fast so we have a lot to do, a lot of work on the bike, but the first impression is positive. The lean angles changed a lot compared to last year‘s tyres, because last year we were able to lean more, with Michelin a little bit less because it‘s a different shape of tyre. It‘s just a feeling that you have to understand, usually it‘s the bike that tells to you how much you can do, that‘s always the limit. The best riders are able to go close to limit but not too much.
Rossi improves from ninth to fifth on the final day of MotoGP testing at the Red Bull Ring, in Austria. The race will take place August 12-14.
I raced here in ’96-’97 – a lifetime ago! – but the track was the same and it’s a great feeling [to be back]…It is a particular type of track. Very, very fast and you stay a lot of time at full throttle. There are just nine corners but sincerely speaking I like the track and it’s good to ride. But unfortunately on the performance side it is not our track, because usually we suffer a bit with top speed and in the straight we lose quite a lot. We were able to improve the lap times and our position today and we’re a little bit closer to the top guys. But it will be a very difficult race, especially with some of our factory rivals; they are faster than us.
Rossi begins the German MotoGP weekend in 14th place after Friday practice. Unexpectedly cold conditions seemed to hit all of the Yamaha riders, with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo down in 16th after being one of five riders to fall at Turn 11. Rossi:
It was a difficult day because the weather was very bad. This made everything more difficult, and also more dangerous, because also the soft option for the front [tyre] is a bit too hard for this temperature. This morning, I had a quite good feeling, but after it started to rain. In the afternoon, we tried something different and also I have to work only with used tyres, rear and front. But anyway, our potential is nothing special. Looks like today, all the Yamahas are struggling with the front. We don’t have enough feeling with the front, especially on the right, especially at Turn 11, but also on the other right corners. At the end, I wasn’t able to make a lap pushing at 100%. So I am in a bad position…This track is a particular track because it’s very tight, especially the first part and it is the only place where you stay 25 seconds on the left. And sincerely, it is physically very demanding, because staying for a long time on the left is difficult. Also the track is short and you have to do 30 laps in the race. But for me Assen, or other big and fast tracks, are more difficult. In the end, this track is not so bad, the bigger problem is it goes left, left, left… and then right. So every lap we arrive [at turn 11] is very scary. Apart from that, the rest is good, I like the track.
After two days cardio and strength training, the Master Camp youth rider race on The Ranch’s flat track/ Rossi:
We are only at the halfway point of the first Yamaha VR46 Master Camp and already I see the guys are very happy. They are having fun and are interested in whatever is being taught to them and this allows them to learn everything very quickly. They are doing different exercises to gain experience during this Master Camp…They are really good with the flat track bikes and they go very fast! I did several laps with them and I like how they ride! They also had a race and I enjoyed watching them on track, fighting for the glory to be the champions of the first Master Camp race at the Motor Ranch.
Rossi comes second in Friday’s second Free Practice session in Assen, Netherlands, behind Andrea Iannone, and in front of Marc Marquez. Rossi tested two versions of his M1 bike. In the earlier practice session he had come seventh.
It was a good day and I’m quite satisfied. This morning I had a small problem but in the afternoon we improved the setting of the bike and we improved my speed. In the end Iannone just beat me by 0.004s, but I’m in second place so I’m quite happy. We compared the chassis we have tried during the Barcelona test another time. The difference is not so big but in the end I prefer my standard frame.
Rossi leads the warm up at Catalunya, with a time of 1’45.318. He is followed by Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.
Rossi comes third in Catalunya GP Friday Free Practice, behind Maverick Vinales and Jorge Lorenzo. In the afternoon session, Rossi comes sixth, 0.471 behind Lorenzo.
Rossi places second in Warm Up, 0.204s behind Marquez.
Rossi takes his first pole position in almost a year, his 62nd pole in his career, and first at Jerez since 2005, on his final lap of Saturday’s qualifying session in Spain. Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez had held the provisional pole, with Marquez threatening to take the pole on his last lap. That confirmed Rossi’s 62nd pole by 0.122s from Lorenzo, with Marquez 0.155s behind to complete a mouth-watering front row.
We work a lot because last year we struggled too much in qualifying. This year with Michelin I feel better. I already start on the front row twice this year, but a pole position is different – especially here at Jerez. For sure tomorrow will be very hard with Lorenzo and Marquez. But we are there. We can fight.
Rossi places third in Austin warm up, 0.33s behind Andrea Iannone. Marc Marquez is second.
Rossi will start the Americas GP in third position, 0.387s behind Jorge Lorenzo and 0.456s back on Marc Marquez, in pole position. Rossi uses winglets on his bike, one of the first times he has used them to achieve a fast lap. This is Rossi’s first back-to-back front row starts since the Malaysian and Australian GPs in 2013.
This result is crucial for the race tomorrow and it‘s also a good result for the work that we‘ve done today, from this morning we‘ve improved the bike a lot and this afternoon in the free practice with the race tyre I was quite strong. I started qualifying quite confident and I did some good laps. The front row is always a very good target especially when I have to fight with Marquez and Lorenzo when they are quite strong.
Rossi sets a time of 2’06.25, ending Free Practice 1 in seventh place. He improves in Free Practice 2 to 2’04.974, 1.3 seconds faster than his morning time, ending the sessions in sixth place overall, 0.940s behind leader Marc Marquez, and 0.073s behind teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
The second session was not so bad. I was quite fast from the beginning and we tried something on the bike in the last run, but unfortunately I made two mistakes and I was not able to do a good lap. If I hadn‘t made the mistakes, I would have been able to stay closer to the front. I had quite a good potential because I‘m quite fast everywhere, but unfortunately we suffer a little bit too much in braking so we need to work to try to improve this part, because it‘s very easy to make mistakes. We need to understand the tyres. We have to wait for the hard rear that arrives tomorrow. Our decision on the front tyre is also still very open, we have three tyres to choose from. It will be difficult and I think the tyres will make the difference and will be key for the race.
After qualification, Rossi will start the MotoGP in second place, 0.375 seconds behind Marc Marquez.
Last year in Qatar and also here in Argentina the qualifying was bad, but on the other side the races were fantastic. Now we have done a good qualifying, but the race will be tomorrow. Anyway I‘m quite happy because we worked well on the bike and also the track improved a lot today, we can push more and also have a good pace. I think battling with Marquez will be hard because he is faster, but I‘m not so bad and the most important thing is to fight for the podium and make it a good race.
Due to a failure on Scott Redding’s tire, Michelin has decided to withdraw both rear tyres on safety grounds, and introduce the extra “special” rear compound brought for such an occasion. Each rider will have four of these rear tyres for Sunday.
This new allocation changes the situation a lot, because I thought they would pull the soft tyre and we could race with the harder option, but unfortunately we have to race with a tyre that we never tried before. With this decision we have to start from zero, so we have to hope that tomorrow morning in the half hour warm-up we can understand the situation and that this tyre is safer. Everybody is in the same boat, so we will see what happens tomorrow.
Rossi comes 7th in Friday Practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit in Argentina. Marc Marquez led the pack. Rossi:
Difficult day for everybody because these were challenging conditions. The track was very dirty and in the afternoon it became better, but it remained very slippery and also the temperature was very high so it was difficult to maintain the pace lap by lap. It looks like we suffered a bit with the lack of grip on the track, we slide and also the front tire was not very good. We need to work, so from this moment we need to improve the setting step by step and hope the track will become better and that the weather conditions will become more cold but not wet.
After qualifying, Rossi is in 5th place, 0.272s behind Jorge Lorenzo, who takes pole with a time of 1:54.543. Marc Marquez takes second place.
Rossi comes seventh in Qatar’s third Free Practice session, in the evening, with a time of 1’55.883, some 335.2 slower than Andrea Iannone, who led the session. Lorenzo is second.
Rossi comes seventh in Qatar’s second Free Practice session with a time of 1’55.883, 0.495 slower than Andrea Iannone, who led the session. Teammate, Lorenzo is tenth.
Rossi comes second in the first evening’s practice before the Qatar GP, with a time of 1m 55.707, 0.156s slower than teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi achieves his best time time on his final lap of 17. As well as timing, Rossi is working on improving the balance of his YZR-M1 to better improve his feeling with the Michelin tyres.
The first practice was positive. I‘m quite satisfied, it was a strong way to start the season, because the second position is good and also the lap times are already not so bad. They’re in the 1‘55s and the pace is quite good. We start working from what we did in the test. This means that we did a good job during pre-season and we begin with a good base, but now we have to keep focus. The condition of the track changes a lot session by session and together with the team we have to deliver good work so we will be ready when the grip becomes better. I‘ll try to improve the feeling and also try to make the right decision for the tyres.
Rossi and his VR46 Academy team play a friendly seven-aside football game over two ten-minute halves against Hernandez, who is backed up by Aspire Academy team and former Espanyol player Sergio Garcia. The Aspire Academy team wins victory 3-2. Rossi:
As a football lover, getting the opportunity to play against a great player as Xavi Hernandez is something very special. I told my team to do their best and really go for it, but there was little we could do against such a line-up!
Sharing an experience like this with a motorcycling legend like Valentino Rossi is unique. I’m proud to take part in a game like this against him and his team and I have to admit they were really into it and playing for the win, not just training!
After crashing on his out lap, Rossi finishes third in the final day of Qatar testing, improving on his fastest time on the first day by nearly half a second to post a best time of 1‘55.429s, o.5s behind the leader, teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi’s combined times for the three days leaves him fifth overall.
In the end I‘m quite happy. Unfortunately I had another crash in the same corner, but it was a small one and I was able with the team to try everything. In the last hour and a half we improved the setting and I had quite a strong pace and did a good time attack. The lap time is not so bad and more importantly I did a race simulation and I was strong. I think that it will be quite tough, because it seems that from the first test the other bikes improved a lot, but now we are there at their level. I think a lot of riders can be fast for the first Grand Prix, but we are competitive…I think the last five laps of the race will be difficult for everybody, but the bike is good to ride, so we‘re able to keep a good pace
Rossi comes fifth in testing at Losail, Qatar, with a time of 1m 55.947s. Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales leads with 1m 55.436s.
The second day was OK, I worked a lot and did a lot of laps because we have quite a lot of work to do. In the end my performance was not fantastic in the lap and the position because I‘m a little bit worse compared to yesterday, but in reality we didn‘t do a real time attack because we tried to save some tyres because it‘s important for tomorrow. We don‘t have a lot of tyres, so we’re trying to manage. I think Friday will be very important for trying to understand our potential in a better way and especially for trying to improve the lap time and also for making a long run and try to understand our pace.
Rossi’s Qatar MotoGP test gets off to a bad start when he falls on his out lap. He recovers and finishes in third place, 0.442s behind Jorge Lorenzo and 0.014s from Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales.
I started in a bad way, because after ten corners I crashed. I wasn’t very fast, but maybe because I had too much angle and the rear slid. But fortunately it was just a small slide at 70 km/h. It wasn’t a big problem but to start like this wasn’t fantastic… After, we jumped on the other bike and I’m quite satisfied about today because, also here in Qatar, it looks like our bike is competitive. We can be strong and fast and this is the most important thing, because it’s already the third track where the Yamaha is competitive. We also started with a good base set-up, in fact I didn’t work a lot on it. I felt good from the first moment, rode quite fast and I was able to consistently improve my lap times and in the end I’m in the third position, so it was a good day.