Valentino Rossi described the first day of MotoGP running at Brno as “a good first contact” after the three-week summer break and explained his decision to continue riding around the track immediately after an obvious engine failure.

The 40-year old set the ninth fastest time of the afternoon, 0.7s back from pace setter Fabio Quartararo, a placing that gains added importance considering the forecast for Saturday morning. Rain is expected to fall through the morning.

Perhaps the most notable moment of Rossi’s day was the engine failure mid-way through FP2. As blue smoke billowed from the back of his M1, the Italian zigzagged across the track, crossing the racing line multiple times on his way back to pit lane.

His reasons for taking this line of action, he said, rather than parking the bike immediately was due to the lack of oil coming from his bike. “I checked both sides and I continued for this reason,” he said.

“It was good to come back on the track and ride the M1,” began Rossi. “It’s a good feeling. It’s important for today to try and stay in the top ten because the forecast tomorrow is not fantastic. I was able to make a quite good lap and I am in the top ten.

“We can sleep and wait for the condition of tomorrow morning. During the practice I had a problem with the engine of bike one. It was an old engine with quite a lot of kilometres. Something broke but I don’t know exactly what.

"Fortunately I kept the clutch before the engine broke. I felt it lose performance. When you are able to be fast enough with the clutch the engine normally don’t lose oil because it’s the moment before it breaks.

“But I checked both sides. I saw some smoke. I tried to stay off the line. But usually you have some oil from the chain and the boot becomes full of oil. I checked both sides and I continued for this reason. In fact I just moved the tyre to the other bike and we started again because I don’t have any problem.”

As in previous years at Brno, Rossi believes the conservation of the rear tyre will be key to a successful result on Sunday.

“We tried new tyres. Also the pace is not too bad. But we need to work a lot. After some laps the tyres slide a lot and it’s difficult to keep a constant pace. I think this will be the key to make a good race. The first contact was quite good.

“For me the bigger drop for everybody is the rear tyre. All the specs have a big drop. This will be the key on Sunday: to try and be fast, but also to try and not stress the rear tyre because after three or four laps there is already a big drop. Also happen with all the choices.”

And what of the state of the track? “The bumps of Brno are famous because they are there from 1996 exactly in the same places,” he said. “We call the bumps with a name. You have entry to turn eight, entry to turn ten, last corner. And for me it’s like this. Every year the asphalt drops the condition but for me it’s not so bad.”



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