12 June 2014
Catalunya MotoGP: Rossi eager to tame ‘wild’ MotoGP qualifying
“I think that qualifying now is the more wild part of the weekend” – Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi may have finished on the podium four times this season, including three runner-up places, but he is yet to start a 2014 MotoGP race from the front row.
Even with a rapid rise from tenth to third last time at Mugello, Rossi feels he lost the chance of fighting for victory on the Saturday and must improve during the 'wild' 15 minute pole position shootouts if he is to halt Marc Marquez's unbeaten run.
“I think that qualifying now, especially the 15 minute [Qualifying 2], is the more wild part of the weekend because everybody goes very, very fast. Also compared to practice and the race, the lap time goes down by more than one second for everybody,” said Rossi at Catalunya on Thursday.
“The problem is also, like in Mugello, if you are just half a second from pole position and you are in the fourth row… Finito. It's over.
“In Mugello the first race laps were very good for me and I was lucky to recover a lot, but when I arrived into the third position already Marc and Jorge had one second advantage. They are very, very fast, especially with Jorge setting the rhythm in front, so I cannot arrive in the slipstream.
“I lost the chance to fight with them on the Saturday. This time we will try to do better.
“Last year I had a problem especially in braking with the new tyre in qualifying. This year the bike is better so it is just me. I need to do a good strategy, I have the potential to start in the top five and I will try to be on the front row.”
While Mugello marked an emotional home podium return for Rossi, the seven time MotoGP champion revealed that Catalunya is perhaps his favourite circuit.
“Maybe it is my favourite, together with Mugello, but Mugello is more hard physically and also more dangerous,” he said. “Barcelona is a great enjoyment to ride with MotoGP. I've had a lot of victories in the past, the last in 2009 after a great battle with Jorge at the last corner, so the plan is to try to stay with Jorge and Marc this weekend.”
Thursday at Catalunya was hot and muggy, with a threat of rain on race day.
“A lot of people are saying that unfortunately the forecast is quite bad for Sunday,” commented Rossi. “It is a great pity because first of all at Barcelona it is a shame to race in the wet and also maybe here you have rain but the temperature still hot so you don't have a full rain situation.
“The track can be quite hot even if it is wet and dry quite fast and the risk us to have a half and half race where you have to change the bike. So everybody hopes for a dry race also because it is a long time for everybody since we've used a MotoGP bike in the wet.”
A likely Saturday night distraction will come in the form of the Football World Cup match between Italy and England.
“I stay up until 12 o'clock anyway, so it is not a big problem!” said Rossi. “I want to try to see the start of the match, because it will be a great match against England. I think after the first half an hour you can understand if you need to stay awake for the second half or if it is enough!”
On the question of stopping Marc Marquez's unbeaten 2014 run, Rossi replied: “All we can do is try the maximum, we are not too far but at the end Marquez always wins!”
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