10 September 2016
MotoGP San Marino: Valentino Rossi: 'Extra pressure until 2pm'
"It is an extra pressure until 2pm. But when you are on the track it is something special, a great atmosphere, a great party" - Valentino Rossi.
It may be officially titled as the Grand Prix of San Marino & Riviera Di Rimini, but Misano is best described as Valentino Rossi's home race - which he will start from second place on Sunday.
As at Mugello, the grass banks will be coated in yellow as tens of thousands of Rossi fans turn out to support their hero.
The scale of the adoration means even moving around in the paddock is a 'big fight' for Rossi, but once out on track he is able to enjoy the atmosphere - even if it can't make him any faster.
"It is an extra pressure until 2pm, especially because it is very difficult to move in the paddock. To go from one place to another is a big fight," said the nine-time world champion.
"But when you are on the track it is something special, a great atmosphere, a great party. But unfortunately this doesn't give [me] any tenths! For sure I need to give the maximum, also more than in other places. But especially it is the feeling you have looking around."
Rossi qualified 0.348s behind Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and two places ahead of world championship leader Marc Marquez (Honda), whom Rossi trails by 50-points.
"I'm very happy with second position because the front row is always very important in MotoGP, especially here at Misano that is a tight track and difficult to overtake," Rossi said, before revealing he has encountered some quality control issues with the tyres.
"During the weekend we have a bit of up-and-down because we fight a little bit with the tyres. We found different performances from one tyre to the other and with the first one I spun a lot so I thought 'I hope the second one is better'. In fact with the second one I had better grip, so I could push more.
"Until this race the [tyre] situation was good, but this weekend it looks like the tyres are not the same performance from one to the other. We spoke with Michelin and tried to understand why, especially because tomorrow in the race it will be very important have a good tyre.
"I think and I hope that Michelin understand with the numbers of the tyre what has happened and try to have 100% tyre for everybody."
While tyre quality control is out of his hands, Rossi has a very important decision to make in terms of which tyre compounds to choose - front and rear.
"Although the front row is important and I'm happy we have to stay concentrating to fix some small details, wait for the weather conditions and try to understand the right tyre to use.
"At the end of the FP4 I make some good lap time with the hard rear that can be an option for tomorrow. But also in the front the tyre situation is very open. Depends also on the temperature of tomorrow.
"Misano is also very demanding for the riders because is a very stop-and-go track so you have to brake very wide, very deep and after we start from zero so also the acceleration is quite hard.
"So it will be difficult to give the maximum for the 28 laps. You have to stay concentrate from the beginning to the end because for sure tomorrow the pace will be fast."
The Italian has beaten world championship leader Marquez in all three races since the summer break, but still only gained nine points on the Honda rider and remains 50 adrift heading into this weekend.
Rossi caught and passed team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to lead last year's wet Misano race. But the pair became consumed by their own title duel and, as the track dried, stayed out too long before pitting for their second bikes.
Lorenzo then fell shortly after his bike swap, while Rossi crossed the finish line in fifth place.
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