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MotoGP Catalunya: Rossi: I’m closer and can be competitive

Valentino Rossi remains upbeat despite failing to meet his objective of a second row start, believing he has a good pace for Sunday's MotoGP encounter in Barcelona
MotoGP title leader Valentino Rossi believes he is much closer to team-mate Jorge Lorenzo at the Majorcan's 'home' MotoGP round in Barcelona than previous races, insisting he can be competitive in Sunday's grand prix.

Coming off seventh and eighth qualifying positions in Le Mans and Mugello, Rossi set himself the target of starting from the front two rows in Montmeló in a bid to halt Lorenzo's ever-increasing momentum.

Yet on Saturday the 36-year old qualified for Q2 by the skin of his teeth, his final lap in FP3 a 'risky' strategy but enough to bump him into the top ten.

Rossi once again left it late to qualify seventh after positing a time of 1m 41.058s, putting him just over half a second slower than the pole position time, set by Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro.

Although the extremely fast qualifying time has yet to arrive, Rossi believed the pace he showed in FP4, in which he finished fourth, demonstrates definite potential for the race.

“Practice was quite positive,” said Rossi, leading the championship by six points. “From yesterday we had a good balance, especially the pace. FP4 was the most interesting because everyone is trying their race pace. I was fourth and feeling confident.

“I was able to do good lap times. After for the qualifying I'm not satisfied 100 percent because I have the potential with the bike to make the top five and start from the second row. Unfortunately I wasn't strong enough to make the perfect lap.

“In the end I have to start seventh. It's not fantastic but it's not too bad. Also, because the guy with the right pace starts from third position [Lorenzo], fourth [Marquez] and sixth position [Pedrosa], seventh [is] not so far.

“I think Jorge has the best pace. Also both of the Hondas are not so bad but this time I am more close and I think I can be more competitive for the race.”

The Suzuki pairing of Espargaro and Maverick Viñales were undoubtedly the surprise of the session, placing first and second, and Rossi admitted he is unsure how the GSX-RR pairing will fare in the second half of Sunday's race.

“I think nobody knows. I am quite optimistic for the Suzuki. They make an incredible lap time with the super soft but the pace with the medium is good. Especially Aleix is fast.

“I think they can stay in the first group for the first half of the race. For the second half nobody know. Or Suzuki don't know. Also the speed on the straight, it looks like Suzuki has improved. If it is fast they can keep the slipstream and can stay on top.”

Asked why he had waited until the last possible moment to set his fastest lap in FP3, which narrowly put him through to Q2, Rossi joked, “We make a good strategy. We simulate the qualifying and I do the lap time on the last lap. We have forty seconds in advance so we have another forty seconds to use!

“Apart from the joke, it's risky. Now it's like this. Everyone is so fast and Saturday morning is already pre-qualifying. Staying in the top ten is not easy. We have a lot of very fast bikes. Also Suzuki here with the super soft so it's not so bad. A good result.”

When judging his pace in FP4, Rossi was able to eleven laps in the mid-to-high 1m 42s while Lorenzo, using worn tyres, set six. According to the Italian 'another step' is needed to consistently challenge in Sunday's race.

“It will be very important now to improve and make another step for tomorrow, to try and improve the set-up for tomorrow morning. Also the start will be important like always.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rossi, Catalunya MotoGP 2015
Pol Espargaro, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Marquez, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Marquez, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Pol Espargaro, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Aleix Espargaro, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Vinales, Australian MotoGP 2016

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June 13, 2015 7:27 PM
Last Edited 388 days ago

Lorenzo can't fight, hes bike is set up for "corner speed" ..... that means he cant change lines throughout a corner.... why do you think he treats races like time attacks? the answer is very simple, anything that alters his lines puts him at a dissadvantage that's why he whines like a crybaby every time somebody packs it in to him, also that's why he usually leaves the door open on corners, he cant correct the line, check every race ever where he has lost the lead.... I so wish the Hondas are really sorted so I dont have to see his idiotic jump on the podium.


June 13, 2015 8:10 PM

oh no another newbie that thinks jl cant fight. what did you only watched the last 3 races and thought lets say some really dumb. listen if you dont watched motogp over a decade then shutup. because crap is coming out of your mouth. cant Jeez don't you just love those self assumed experts that know the sport inside out. You must be JL's mother to know him so well!? A racer in the purest sense JL is not. Sure he can mix it up, but by his very nature he doesn't like it. His forte is out in front and staying out there. Rossi is by far and large the better racer. If they were both in a dogfight, neck and neck like Barca 09, I would put my money on the Doctor everytime. Lorenzo has shown he is fallible under pressure. If I wanted fighters in my team it would be Rossi and MM. JL wouldn't enter my mind tbh.

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