Valentino Rossi faced a wide range of questions from the trackside media after finishing day one of the Aragon MotoGP as the top Yamaha rider, albeit in fourth place behind the Hondas of Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow.

The Italian began by discussing his on-track performance, having set a best lap time 0.240s from Pedrosa and just 0.159s from Marquez, whom Rossi currently trails by 43 points in the world championship.

But the Movistar Yamaha rider believes the RCVs currently have a significant advantage over longer runs.

"We are quite fast but we suffer a bit after some laps because we stress a bit too much the tyres and we lose some grip and performance," Rossi said. "So this is the main target, we have to work, we have to try to improve because for the race pace the Hondas are very strong.

"Not about the top lap time, but after some laps they are able to keep the pace and it looks like they stress a bit less the tyres. So if we want to try and fight with them we have to improve from this point of view.

"About the feeling with the bike and the first day in general, it was ok. I'm not so bad in all the splits, I'm always in the top three of four, so we don't have any particular weak point.

"But like I said, it looks like after some laps the Hondas - especially the two factory Hondas and Crutchlow - have good pace. And it looks like they are able to stay strong. So we need to improve."

The Aragon circuit was scarred by tyre marks at the end of day one, as riders laid down rubber on corner exit. Rossi said it's fun, but not very fast.

"The tyres after 3-4 laps start to spin a lot. We have a lot of spin at this track and slide," he declared. "It is funny to ride and when you follow another bike you see the smoke from the rear tyre. But apart from the show you lose a lot of time, you start to be slower in acceleration.

"I think that the tyre can resist all the race, but it is a problem of performance, of the lap time. It will be crucial to try to lose as little as possible, especially after 7-8 laps."

Attention then switched to the seemingly never ending debate over the pass Rossi made on team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to take the early lead at the previous Misano race. Lorenzo maintained on Thursday that it was too aggressive, while Rossi said it is a joke to still be talking about it.

"For me, if we have to speak more than two weeks about this overtake we waste our time, you know? Is like a joke now," Rossi stated. "For me it is very important, when you overtake, where the other bike is and where you overtake considering the corner.

"If you overtake more in delay, the more delay the more aggressive it is, and if you touch it is also more than aggressive. But I overtook Lorenzo with all the bike, minimum 20 metres before the corner. If you see the images it is very clear he could see me, but he wanted to try to cross my line.

"So he saw me but he expected that I go wide and he wanted to cross my line. So for that reason he made like this. But in reality he saw me 20 metres before. So if we have to speak about this overtake, we need to don't overtake anymore! At the press conference I tried to explain my point of view. But we continue..."

Despite the latest spat between the pair, Rossi still believes the situation is better than in 2009-2010 because they are able to put their personal feelings to one side when it comes to working together within the team.

"For me personally the situation changed after the last three races of last year and is something that is never fixed, you know?" Rossi said. "It is like this. But it is better than 2009-2010 because we are older, more mature and we are professional riders.

"We are in the same team, we love to stay in this team and we know we have to work together and stay together. For me the important thing is that your relationship or what you think remains out of the track. Out of the box. And you have to try to make the maximum in a professional way. After it is impossible to like each other if you don't like, it is like this!"

Prior to the disagreement with Lorenzo at Misano, Rossi had been involved in some hand 'waving' with Aleix Espargaro, when the Suzuki rider held him up in practice.

Riders have now apparently been told they will be fined if they use derogatory hand signals. Does Rossi agree with such a step?

"I think that in Misano Espargaro did a big mistake, because he stayed on the racing line and when I was angry with him he said 'f**k you'. For me, my mistake is that I did like this [the middle finger]. But apart from that I was 100% in the right.

"It is right you cannot do [the middle finger], but from the other side when a rider is on track he has to keep attention on the other riders. If not, it is not fair and a lot worse [than showing the middle finger]."

By Peter McLaren


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