Despite meeting his qualifying objective, Valentino Rossi foresees a tough Sunday at Aragon and admitted it will be a struggle to finish in the podium places as he is “a bit too much on the limit.”

Rossi said the race weekend at Aragon has similarities to last week’s affair at Misano, where Marc Marquez, Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales enjoyed a clear advantage over their rivals.

The 40-year old Italian qualified sixth, 1.006 seconds back of pole sitter Marquez in Saturday's Q2 session at Motorland Aragon.

“The day was quite good, because when you start from the two first rows it's good for the race, because it means you are not so far,” he said. “So in the qualifying I was quite good, also my pace was not so bad.

“But the situation at the moment is very similar to Misano. We have Marquez who is fastest, this time by more, but also Quartararo and Viñales are faster than me. So it looks like the podium is a little bit there.

“Also Rins here is fast, but he has to start from behind, but he has a very good pace, and anyway, Rins is very fast to recover positions. But we need to improve, because I'm not fully happy about the balance of my bike, in some places I'm not fantastic.

“So we continue to work, and tomorrow we will try to make a good start and try to understand if I am strong enough to fight for the podium.”

In terms of set-up what can be improved? “For me, the balance is still not fantastic, I am a bit too much on the limit in braking. So we need to improve there.

“But anyway, the situation is quite positive, especially if we think where we were last year. Last year we started P18, and I finished the race in P8, but I was the first Yamaha.

“Looks like now the bike is more competitive, we have better acceleration, we are better with the tyre life, and it looks like all the four Yamahas can fight for the top five or for the podium. Or also for the victory. This is good.

“We have to continue like this, but for me personally, we have to improve if we want to try to fight with Quartararo and Viñales who are in great shape and a bit faster than me.”

When mentioning the improvements regarding tyre life, Rossi was asked whether that was due to Yamaha’s recent improvements or the fact Michelin’s 2019 rear tyre is better in terms degradation?

“For me, it's more correlated to the Yamaha improvements,” he said. “Because we haven't done anything big, or crazy, or changed the bike upside down, but we just work in a better way.

“And this is very important. I think that now Yamaha are putting more effort, working more clever, and we are starting to see more improvement, and I hope we can continue and we can improve to return to fight for the victory.

“Sometimes it's strange to understand, because also in Misano, we spoke to Italian journalists and sometimes it's difficult to understand that for example the Ducati won in Austria, and after we went to Silverstone and it was struggling.

“Or also Rins, he was fantastic in Silverstone, and slow in Misano. So we have some ups and downs that are difficult to understand. It's difficult for me to make a classification, but I can say that the good thing is that we have not done anything incredible.

“We just worked in a better way with the electronics for the acceleration, and we have done something clever, and it looks like the bike has a good potential. So this is very positive, I'm happy.”

 

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