Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 30 May 2015
Valentino Rossi has said he is confident of being competitive in tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix despite qualifying on the third row of the grid.
Once again, the nine-times World Champion struggled to make the best of his pace in qualifying and will start tomorrow’s race from eighth on the grid. However, he believes he has good race pace and is confident of running with Lorenzo and the Ducatis should he get a decent start.
“Today I am very satisified, quite happy with the result and more positive compared to yesterday because yesterday I was not strong enough, especially in the front so we decided to modify the bike”, Rossi said. “I am quite satisfied because every time we improved and I was stronger and more confident, we improved run by run
“I am not happy with being third row and in eighth place; it is not how I planned it! It’s not a great place to start but I will try the maximum. I have a good pace so I can do better. It looks like the extra soft tyre worked very well today, with three Ducatis in front and also the Suzuki, they are very fast with the soft tyre.
“Apart from the third row, I am very happy, the bike is an improvement and we have the chance to be competitive tomorrow. Hopefully we can make another step in the warm up and another in the race and then have a good result.”
One thing on Rossi’s side is that he’s won from an eighth place grid spot before, in fact, his last three race victories have come after he qualified eighth on the grid and he hasn’t ruled out making it four…
“For me it is very difficult to say if we can win now,” he said. “For sure Jorge has the chance [to beat Ducati], but maybe also me. I have good pace, Jorge’s is a little better than mine but I’m not too bad. It depends on a lot of things, for me the start - the first corner will be very important because the two Ducatis and Jorge are on the front row. Jorge is very fast on the first lap. It will be a long race and we will see what happens.”
It’s not the first time Rossi’s qualifying has let him down on a weekend, the Italian hasn’t started on the front row at all this season and he’s often critical of the Q1/Q2 qualifying format.
“In all of my career qualifying has never been my stronger point”, he continued. Now it is more difficult because this qualifying changes a lot, you have to stop, wait half an hour and usually I am better if you have the last ten minutes of a longer practice where you can use the tyre. I have the pace in the race and qualifying makes it difficult so I need to be better.”
Rossi’s day was much better than that of championship rival Marc Marquez, who failed to make it through to the second qualifying session after being pipped in Q1 by Pramac Ducati’s Yonny Hernandez.
“Marc today made an error of judgement, because he was very fast and his mistake was to use just one tyre this afternoon”, Rossi said. “Keep attention to Marquez, because although he is 13th he has a great pace, also with a used tyre, so he is not so far. For sure he will do a great race tomorrow.”