16 July 2016
MotoGP Germany: ‘Lucky’ Rossi wary of temperature drop
Valentino Rossi narrowly qualifies on the front row; feels Yamaha riders are in 'big trouble' if temperatures drop for Sunday's race.
Valentino Rossi was frank in his assessment that luck was on his side in the 15-minute MotoGP qualifying shootout at the Sachsenring, after he qualified on the front row of the grid.
The nine-time world champion was caught in traffic late in the session when a new tyre was fitted, and was pleased with the substantial improvements in feeling compared to Friday, when temperatures were lower.
While he feels he can be 'quite competitive' in a dry race with relatively high track temperatures, Rossi sounded a warning for cooler conditions, saying he and his fellow Yamaha men could face “big, big trouble.”
“Yesterday was very bad,” said the Movistar Yamaha man, who posted an identical time to fourth placed Danilo Petrucci. Rossi took third thanks to his second fastest time bettering that of his countryman.
“We struggling a lot for the temperature of the front tire so it was very dangerous ride the bike and it was very frustrating because you cannot push at the maximum and every time you try you have the clear feeling to crash. But this morning when I wake up is changing the season compared to yesterday because is summer. Like this is a lot better, on the other point of view.
“Yesterday unfortunately the performance was bad but we were able to understand the way to follow for the setting so we improve a lot the bike. I think that also the track improve today, not just for the temperature but also for the rubber. You can have more grip. We make a step in the setting already from this morning. I was quite competitive and for all the day I was quite fast so is a good day.
“At the end I'm very lucky to remain in the front row. Unfortunately I wasn't able to improve with the second tire because I was stuck in the traffic. Usually in Moto GP when you don't improve with the second tire you finish seventh. But fortunately I was able to stay in the front row. That is a good place to start the race.
“In a normal condition I think that we are quite competitive. We can make a good race. But look at the practice - Marquez is a bit faster, so I think that will be difficult. But now the bigger question mark for everybody is the weather.
"Everybody say that tomorrow will be more similar to yesterday. If it's very, very cold we are in big, big trouble because we are not able to ride the bike. If will be wet is a big question mark for everybody because we have to restart from zero and we don't know if we are competitive or not."
Widely considered to be the strongest overall package on the grid, the German Grand Prix weekend has been notable for the struggles of reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo and Tech 3 man Bradley Smith.
Rossi admitted the track layout wasn't best suited to the M1's strengths. “It's not the best track for us, I think, for our bike. Usually our bike needs a little bit more space for make the corner. Yesterday was something good because we were able to understand the way to follow for try to fix the lack of feeling with the front.
“We know that when the front tire doesn't work is a disaster. But I fix something on the bike that I don't like. I think that we make the right move for today, so it was not just the temperature. Also Pol is not so bad. During all the practice is fast. So also his M1 is good.
About “Jorge, I think for sure a crash Friday morning in the turn 11 is not good for anybody. Yesterday afternoon was very difficult. But today in the Q1 before crash it was already fast. It was a 21.7 and it was already on the red helmet in the section two.
“But after he crashed another time. So for me that was the moment where he lose some concentration. I think for that reason he start behind, also because we are all very close. Also Pedrosa was very fast in the practice, but after he don't make the lap. Also Pedrosa is behind because if you make a small mistake you are in the third row.”
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