Valentino Rossi hopes his front row start will provide a small advantage to his chances should the weathers conditions be dry at Silverstone for Sunday's British round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Rossi capitalised on the treacherous conditions in Q2 to seal second place on the front row, nine seconds behind home favourite Cal Crutchlow.
The Movistar Yamaha rider feels comfortable on his factory M1 in the wet, but Rossi has concerns over his pace in the dry for the duration of the race and feels Andrea Iannone, Maverick Vinales and Marc Marquez currently have a stronger race pace.
“It was a difficult day for me because this morning we tried to modify a lot the bike and I feel not so bad, my pace improve a lot and I was quite happy. But after I put in the new tyres and I wasn't able to improve enough and stayed in the top 10 – just. I was lucky and after it started to rain and it was very good also for me that it was wet also for FP4, because at the beginning the balance of the bike, I did not like a lot, so I softened,” Rossi said.
“We did a good job with the team and in the qualification I felt a lot more comfortable and I could push. When I saw the lap time of Cal –2'19.2 – I was on 2'22.2, so I was three seconds [slower] and I say, maybe it is difficult. But then I saw a board saying P5 and I thought maybe he did a crazy lap! So I tried and I did a 2'20.2 and I was second and I think that I could stay on the front row, so this was important because at the end the conditions started to become very dangerous with a lot of water.
“This front row is important for tomorrow if it will be dry because we are not very strong on the dry, we need to work and try to improve. If our pace is not fantastic, to start from the front row can be a small help for the race.”
Rossi contended that although his prospects are brighter should rain prevail tomorrow, he is hoping for a dry race.
“At this moment, for me I'm stronger in the wet but I prefer always dry, like or less everybody. Now, we need to try to be strong on the dry. We can modify some things and I hope it will be dry for tomorrow, but dry also from the morning so we can try some things in the warm-up and also the tyre choice is unclear for a lot of riders.”
Explaining the issues he has been facing in the dry at Silverstone, Rossi said: “First of all we are not very good with the tyres. With the front, I have a good feeling with the soft, but difficult mid-race and the other tyres that I try make the bike more difficult to ride. Also with the rear it is the same, the soft provides good grip but it is difficult for all the race and I need to stay a little bit much on the edge to make the corner. For this reason, I think the tyres suffer and now we will try to understand tomorrow morning what we can do.
“After seven or eight laps, the problems start and you need to last 20 laps. It looks like the top three especially [in the dry], Iannone, Vinales and Marquez can stay constant, so we need to try something to be strong in the second part of the race.
“We needed the [FP4] to understand the tyres, especially the front with the normal conditions, so we hope for dry warm-up tomorrow morning but I don't know if it's enough to try the medium or hard front. After you have to decide and risk and be lucky to make the right choice.”