24 October 2014
MotoGP Malaysia: Rossi 'quite worried' by wet pace
Valentino Rossi was languishing in 15th position in the wet second free practice session at Sepang as Movistar Yamaha rider struggles with braking and corner entry on M1
Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi was left 'quite worried' after struggling in the wet afternoon session at Sepang, ending FP2 in a lowly 15th position.
The Australian MotoGP winner was sixth quickest in the morning's dry session, but Rossi has stressed the importance of being competitive in both conditions given the possibility of more rain at the Malaysian MotoGP over the weekend.
“It was difficult today because we had some problems with the bike and we tried to work for saving the tyres because here in the test we were a little bit worried,” he said.
“In the test we were fast with the new tyre, but we had a bad rhythm because we slide too much and lose too much. We tried to avoid this problem and in reality it worked because my pace is not so bad, especially with the older tyres, but I'm not fast enough because I have to pay in the faster corners.
“We have to modify, to try something in between, and especially this afternoon in the wet I was very slow. I had a lot of problems with the bike to ride at the limit – I never had a good feeling,” he added.
“It was a very bad practice and I am quite worried because we have to be ready in both conditions and tomorrow and Sunday can be wet. If we want to make points we have to be strong also in the wet.”
In contrast, Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo seemed to have no such problems as he headed the times in the wet on the factory M1 by more than two tenths of a second from Marc Marquez, giving Rossi confidence that he can overcome the issues the Italian star faced on day one.
“In the braking and entry I have a lot of problem with the front tyre and I cannot enter fast in the wet. The bike moved very much and I was thinking it cannot be true,” Rossi said.
“Also Pol [Espargaro] and Bradley Smith are like me but on the other side Jorge found something different and was fast, so it means the bike has good potential and we have to improve the setting.”
Rossi is eight points clear of Lorenzo in the championship and although finishing as the runner-up and top Yamaha rider is firmly on his mind, the nine-time world champion is adopting a race by race strategy.
“It's important [to finish second] because we need motivation to stay concentrated but for me personally the target is to try to fight for the victory or podium,” he said.
“Second place in the championship is something important, especially if you fight with Pedrosa and Jorge.”
Rossi has successfully adapted his riding style to be more competitive on the Yamaha this season and says he benefited more from his team-mate Lorenzo's approach rather than Marc Marquez's swashbuckling style on the Honda.
“I take more from Lorenzo, because we have to ride the bike different compared to Honda. Marc and Dani ride similar but with the Honda you have to do some different movement. So for me, [I ride] more like Jorge,” Rossi said.
Asked if Marquez's attacking style had created a new tit-for-tat overtaking culture in MotoGP, Rossi responded: “I think this is because of me, because I started this in the past but it depends who fights with who. For me, Jorge is very fast from the beginning and tries to make his rhythm; Dani was similar, but this year [he has] a little more problems.
“Marc is a little more like me: he can be fast from the beginning like Australia, but sometimes he prefers to feel good on the bike and after start to pass. For example when I try to pass Marc he tries to overtake me on the next corner and also Jorge,” he said.
“It's a good way to fight because in the past the battle during the race was more under control, but now it's like boxing!”
Rossi's time in FP1 in the dry of 2m 01.842s was 0.463s down on pacesetter Dani Pedrosa, but he was 3.5 seconds behind Lorenzo in the wet afternoon run.
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