Valentino Rossi wasn't the only Yamaha rider to struggle with rear tyre wear in the season-opening Qatar MotoGP, but he was the worst affected by it.

The Italian veteran, making his Petronas debut, had already slipped from fourth to seventh on the opening lap when the tyre degradation problem began to kick in after just '7 or 8' of the 22 laps.

Rossi went on to finish in twelfth place, 10.7s behind former Factory Yamaha team-mate and race winner Maverick Vinales. Maintaining tyre life is unsurprisingly his top priority for this weekend's second Doha event.

"In the first race I was not fast like I want, so we will try to change something in the setting of the bike to improve the life of the rear tyre," Rossi said. "And we see. We've worked hard, we see all the data and we have to try to improve.

"Looks like Maverick has something different in the setting of the bike and in the electronic system, they make some other settings. It's very difficult to put exactly the same settings because every rider has some small differences, but during this weekend we can try to follow another way by modifying something and we hope that we can be stronger in the race."

Fabio Quartararo was also hindered by rear tyre wear on his way to fifth position on his factory team debut.

"I spoke with Fabio after the race and Fabio had a similar problem to me," Rossi confirmed. "Also Fabio is a bit different compared to Maverick. So this data is for sure important to try to understand. Fabio had a similar problem but anyway he was able to be stronger than me, at the end finished P5.

"So we have to work under that point of view because I started to have problems very early in the race, because already after 7-8 laps I was in big trouble and had to slow down.

"So all the work will be focussed on this point of view and we have to try to improve the life of the rear tyre because I think that we can go a lot faster than last Sunday."

During last Sunday's race Rossi also had a close moment with factory KTM rider Brad Binder and was asked whether there is a difference in intensity when fighting for positions at the lower end of the top ten.

"For me, it doesn't depend very much on the position but from the different riders," replied Rossi, no stranger to some hard moves of his own in the past. "You have a lot of riders that are more clean and ride with more respect for their opponents and have some other riders like Binder that ride a lot more hard and don’t care about the rival.

"So if you try to close the line, he release the brake and if you don’t move he hits you out of the track. But now it's like this. Respect is too big a word, but it's difficult to understand the limit, because usually in the past sometimes you touch another rider but you tried not to. Now some riders just think of their own race, not about the others."

But Rossi did use the respect word when reflecting on comments he made about his older 125cc rivals after taking a debut grand prix podium in the 125cc class at Austria in 1996.

"They will probably get podiums a thousand times more than me", Rossi said at the time, in a video replayed earlier this week by Dorna:

"When I was young, for me the approach was a bit different compared to now. The young riders had a lot more respect for the old riders compared to now!" Rossi smiled. "But I think this is a general way of the world, not just MotoGP. 25 years ago when you were very young you needed to demonstrate a lot of respect!

"Now it's not exactly like this, but in that moment I raced with riders that had a lot of experience like for example Kazuto Sakata, Ueda or de Radigues. And when I saw them, they were like my heroes.

"So for me it was true, but at the end I'm very happy for the number of podiums in my career because I think it's a great achievement!"

Rossi has gone on to take a record 199 podiums.

 

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