31 August 2015
MotoGP Silverstone: Rossi 'This is MotoGP - you can never relax'
“My mistake was that I relaxed for one lap, because I thought I had more of an advantage” - Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi turned the tables on team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo with victory at a wet and wild British MotoGP.
But the Italian faced a shock late challenge from Danilo Petrucci after 'relaxing' too much following Marc Marquez's accident with eight laps to go.
Lorenzo and Marquez dominated the dry practice sessions at Silverstone, but race day rain swung the balance in Rossi's favour - the Italian quickest in warm-up.
“This morning when I woke up and saw the rain, I didn't know if it was good news or not because during this season we don't have a lot of data for the wet,” said Rossi, who began the race fourth on the grid and tied with Lorenzo at the top of the championship standings.
“But I think the work of my team made the difference and also my Yamaha was fantastic. From the first lap in warm-up we found a good balance and I was very strong.”
There was a further twist when the weather improved and riders lined up on slicks - only for a rain shower to force the start to be delayed as the entire grid dived into the pits on the sighting lap.
“On the grid I was quite scared because it was the worst conditions possible; cold, a little bit of rain, starting on slicks and a fast track,” Rossi said.
“So I was happy that it started to rain more on the warm-up lap. From that point I knew I had the pace.”
Rossi was challenging the two leading Spaniards by the end of the opening lap, passing them both on lap 2 of 20. But he couldn't shake off Marquez.
“I made a good start and tried to go but Marc came with me,” Rossi said. “I could hear him, tried the maximum and set very good lap times but it was very difficult to take an advantage.
“So I thought it would go down to the last lap with Marc again, which is always very difficult!”
The last time Rossi and Marquez fought for the lead they collided at the final turn of the Dutch TT. This time there was to be no such showdown, with Marquez thrown from his Honda with eight laps to go.
“I saw him in the gravel on the big screen and I couldn't hear him behind me, so I relaxed. Also because it was raining more,” Rossi said.
That should have handed Rossi a safe fourth win of the season, but one challenger was soon replaced by another with countryman Danilo Petrucci riding the race of his life.
“Sincerely I expected to have eight-seconds of advantage over Petrucci, but when I crossed the line I had just four seconds. I thought 'hummm, ok'. Then the next lap, three seconds.”
Rossi's lead continued to decrease until the Pramac Ducati rider was just 1.5s behind.
“My mistake was that I relaxed for one lap, because I thought I had more of an advantage. Also I didn't want to throw everything away and it started to rain more,” Rossi said.
“But this is MotoGP - you can never relax: In every situation, in every practice, people want to beat you.
“I did the calculation and with five laps still to go Danilo could beat me. So I had to restart and push again. It was a crucial moment and also I think Danilo didn't want to throw away the first podium of his career. So I stayed concentrated, the bike helped me a lot and afterwards I saw he gave up [on the win].”
The Doctor was able to rebuild some of his advantage and took the chequered flag with a three-second victory margin. With Lorenzo only fourth, Rossi has now rebuilt a twelve point title lead.
“I'm very happy and proud of this victory, it's a great feeling! I think that the last race on the wet that I won was ten years ago," said Rossi. “This victory is so important because sincerely speaking in the dry I think it was difficult to arrive in front of Jorge.”
Round 13 of 18 will be Rossi's home round at Misano, where he claimed victory one year ago.
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