Valentino Rossi wasn’t overly perturbed to qualify off the front row at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, and believes his feeling with his Yamaha M1 should be enough to challenge for a podium place in tomorrow’s MotoGP race.

Fast on Friday in spite of continued complaints regarding the circuit’s pronounced bumps, Rossi told assembled media that he had the potential to qualify on the front row on Saturday afternoon, but for a handful of mistakes when braking on his fastest lap in Q2.

“I have the potential for the front row and I am very close to the front row but one or two braking points I don’t push enough,” said Rossi. “In the end I finish fifth. But it’s OK. Front row is better for sure, but for the race to start in the top five is OK. It’s the best qualifying of the season for me.

“But the most important thing is that I feel good with the bike and I have quite a good pace. We have to improve some details in some places but during these two days we worked well. We have to wait for tomorrow and hope it will be sunny and a dry race because with these conditions we can be competitive.”

Rossi’s performance backs up team-mate Maverick Viñales’ best Saturday showing since Phillip Island last October. Those preseason woes regularly encountered by the Movistar Yamaha pair are quickly being forgotten.

Pressed on the origins of the turnaround, Rossi explained, “For me last year I suffer very much with the balance of the bike, with the chassis, because the 2017 edition of the bike I don’t like. I’m not able to push at 100 percent. This is one problem.

“The other problem that is maybe also bigger, or maybe equal is that in the second half of the season Honda and Ducati did a huge step with the electronics. This was put in the rules to lower the performance of the bikes but Ducati and Honda were better than Yamaha to understand the way to improve.

“The 2018 bike is better with the balance; I feel good, like always, like my good Yamaha. For the electronics I think that we need more time but in this racetrack and in this weekend I think we’re able to work in a good way. I think we are quite competitive but we have to wait for tomorrow.

“It’s true, first you have to have a bike that you can push, that you can ride at 100 percent. And after that the electronics are secondary, I think. Last year I had a problem with both.”

Asked what he feels Yamaha must do to bring its electronics package up to Honda and Ducati’s level, Rossi revealed the Japanese factory is beginning to adequately address the issue.

“During last year Honda and Ducati put a lot of money and a lot of people to work around the electronics,” he said. “Maybe Yamaha not enough. So we are a bit in delay. But now it looks like we can work a bit harder from this point of view.”





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