29 June 2014
Assen MotoGP: Rossi talks wrong tyre choice - Lorenzo, Marquez risks
"Every corner is dangerous because if it is a little bit wet you crash for sure, so I understand Jorge" - Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi was left to rue a tyre gamble that backfired as the Movistar Yamaha rider salvaged a solid fifth place in the Dutch MotoGP at Assen.
Rossi opted for slick tyres after his sighting laps but as rain began to fall he pulled in after the warm-up lap to switch to his second machine and was forced to start from last place in pit lane.
The Italian star hauled himself up to fifth by the end of the race and Rossi was left to wonder what might have been if he had initially started the race on wets.
“It was a very difficult race, very difficult conditions for everybody. It is always about how much you want to risk and after the warm-up lap I decided to put in the slick and at that moment it was the correct decision – it was a risk, but the track had dried very quickly,” said the 2013 Assen winner.
“It was a risk in the first lap, but if the weather remained like this it was a very good idea. Unfortunately, right on the grid, it started to rain a little bit for two or three minutes and it was very bad for me, because I had the wrong choice.
“I think in that moment I made a good decision to stop and pit before the start and I was able to change bike without losing a lot of time. Unfortunately I had to start from last, but I had the rain tyres,” he added.
“I was quite fast in the wet but there was a lot of traffic and after five or six laps I entered the pit to change bike in the right moment, and also that was important for the final result.
“It was a good second part of the race with the dry bike and we had a very good pace; I did some fast laps and could push hard. I improved some positions and finished fifth.”
Had Rossi made the right choice prior to the race, the nine-time world champion feels he would have challenged for the rostrum at least.
“It's a shame because during the week I was always competitive and I felt good with the bike; I think with a normal race I could fight for sure for the podium and this is good,” he said.
“I was good also in the wet, but unfortunately I don't arrive on the podium after, I think, four podiums in a row. In this situation, it could be a lot worse because [with] fifth position I take 11 points.
“[Dani] Pedrosa now has the same points as me but I can concentrate on being strong for the next race at Sachsenring.”
Rossi's team-mate, Jorge Lorenzo, finished down in 13th position with the double premier class champion unprepared to take risks in the conditions given his accident at the circuit last season – a decision Rossi could fully understand.
“Today was very dangerous, especially when I go out with the slick tyres and you have to understand the limit. Every corner is dangerous because if it is a little bit wet you crash for sure, so I understand Jorge and also he was more behind,” he said.
“Also because he crashed last year maybe he was scared also for that and he didn't want to make another crash. I broke my leg because I had a cold tyre so every time I always think I have to be very careful because the tyre is new, the tyre is cold.”
Asked if he felt Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez was prepared to take more risks than everyone else this season, Rossi said simply that the 21-year-old's success has come because he is currently the fastest rider in the premier class.
“For sure Marc is a rider that for all his career risks a lot and he's very young, so he's very brave. But I think the main reason is that Marquez and Honda together are faster than anybody else on the track,” he said.
“For this reason he can fight for the win every Sunday; he is very clever and always concentrates – he does the right thing and for this reason he won and the target now is to try and win all the races.
“From our side we have to try to beat him at least one time – this is the target.”
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