Valentino Rossi struggled on day-one of the second MotoGP Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit, as the nine-time world champion was only 14th. 

It means the Italian will in all likelihood be looking at a Q1 appearance which was not the case last weekend as he went directly into Q2. 

Rossi alluded to struggling with rear grip and not having the same feeling on the longer run at the beginning of FP2 as he did a week ago. 

Rossi said: "Last week was better because I was faster, especially in FP2 when I was able to stay in P9 with a better lap time. 

"Today I suffered a lot with the rear grip and, in the longer run at the beginning of the session, I felt a lot slower. 

"We have improved the life of the tyre a little bit and this is very important for us. I improved the time attack in the final minutes and I feel like I rode quite well, but it was not enough for the top-ten. 

"Tomorrow we need to try to improve the rear grip, but in FP3 it will be very difficult to improve the lap times so we need to concentrate on the pace and try to stay within the top-two in Q1. 

"Today my pace is more constant. But not fast enough. Need to understand the pace of other guys. I think it will be difficult to do that."

Until today there had been no sign of engine issues as was the case for Yamaha last season when they had to drastically prolong the same engines for a lot longer than would be expected or wished. 

But today, team-mate Franco Morbidelli suffered two separate, but identical looking mechanical issues in FP1, however, Rossi was quick to dismiss any worry that it is an issue like in 2020.  

"I see that Franco has some problems in FP1 and had some smoke from the engine. 

"I don't know exactly what's happened, but I think it's not a big problem for the engine. But I didn't speak with Franco."

 

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