Valentino Rossi concludes day-one ahead of Sunday’s MotoGP Grand Prix of Portugal 15th for the Petronas Yamaha team. 

The nine-time world champion endured another tough day following a double header in Qatar that saw him claim only four points. 

Damp conditions made FP1 sketchy to put it mildly, and while Rossi was one of the first riders out on track, he described it as ‘difficult’ due to the ‘half wet and half dry’ track. 

"This morning was a bit difficult because it was very difficult conditions. Half wet and half dry. At the end my lap time was not that bad," said Rossi.

"The afternoon practice was more normal. With the medium tyres in race pace I did some laps that are not so bad. Unfortunately, I did too much up and down."

In FP2, Rossi lamented the fact he was unable to be ‘strong’ with the ‘soft front’ tyre as the reason why he was unable to improve for the top ten.

"After the time attack I wasn’t strong. I used the soft front but I was a bit in trouble and I was not able to push at 100%. So, my position is not fantastic," added Rossi. 

With Yamaha one of the teams greatly hoping to improve in Portimao compared to last year’s results, Rossi was also asked about his feeling at the Algarve Circuit. 

"This track is great. It’s beautiful, but it’s also very tricky and very difficult. It looks like the grip was not fantastic. 

"The track was a bit dirty but It looks like every practice the grip will come better. I’m quite happy with the setting of the bike. 

"We need to improve in the braking because in some areas I am in trouble."

The good news for Rossi is that Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo both looked extremely strong during FP1 and FP2 on the 2021 M1.

During the pre-season Rossi tested a new carbon fibre swingarm, but following Qatar, he has decided to stick with the aluminium swingarm in Portugal.

Rossi said: "We start from the base of last year of the race so it’s different compared to Qatar. 

"During the winter test we tried the carbon swingarm. But in Qatar we go back. it’s not very different. 

"The carbon is just a bit more stiff. For now for the moment we will continue with the aluminium."  

 

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