Valentino Rossi heads into round four of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship in Austria eager to build on the encouraging upturn in form that has seen him creep back into the leading positions.

Having become mired in the upper mid-field for the majority of 2019 as he struggled to get the Yamaha M1 utilising the Michelin rear tyre as effectively as his stablemates, Rossi appeared to make a breakthrough at the Andalusia MotoGP in Jerez after qualifying well and scoring a podium.

Though he wasn’t standing on the podium in the Czech Republic, Rossi finished in fifth just one second shy of Johann Zarco as one of the few riders to make gains in the closing stages as – fittingly – tyres faded for his other rivals this time.

 

 

“The end of the race was positive for me,” he said. “Unfortunately, I made mistakes in qualifying and I had to start from the fourth row, which now very difficult to recover. But I had good pace with the bike in the second half of the race, I can push.

“I tried to ride clever and make clear overtakes, we stayed a lot together with Rins, we went from the bottom to Johann in the last laps but it was not enough for the podium.

“I enjoyed the race, I can ride in a good way in difficult conditions, but on the other side we need to improve something on Saturday and start in a better position.

Arriving at the Red Bull Ring looking to consolidate a positive run of results, the Italian – who finished fourth at the venue last season – is eyeing a large haul of points if Ducati and Honda fail to maximise their chances again, as they did in Brno.

“On paper, this track is not good for the M1 because I think the top speed is not a strong point for us. But like in 2019, the bike was good to ride and we had a good race. We were a bit too far from Ducati and Honda but we fought for the podium – this is important and we have to try to be stronger and fight for the podium.

“The forecast will be very important because it looks like from the morning to the afternoon it is not clear, so we need to be strong for rainy conditions.”

 

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