Valentino Rossi’s worst start to a MotoGP season across all the classes in 25 years continued last time out in Jerez, as the Petronas Yamaha rider struggled on his way to 17th. 

Rossi had never gone the opening four races of a season without a top ten finish since his debut in the 125cc championship with Aprilia in 1996 until this year. 

Rossi’s struggles have been compounded by Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo on identical spec machinery taking three of the four wins so far in 2021 - should have been four from four if not for Quartararo’s arm pump issue at Jerez while leading. 

However, Rossi seemed to be happier following the one-day test in Andalusia a week ago saying they improved ‘different aspects’, which he hopes to bring forward into Le Mans. 

Speaking ahead of this weekend, the nine-time world champion added: "Undoubtedly this weekend I want to be stronger, recover positions and be faster compared to the last round in Jerez. 

"Last year I was strong in the dry conditions in Le Mans, I was fast and had a good race pace, but it started to rain just before the race and I crashed on the first corner. 

"It’s a great track, with a lot of changes in direction due to the chicanes and I like it a lot. With good grip and strong acceleration, it is a really nice track to ride. 

"We hope that we can have good weather from FP1 until the end of the race. We had a good test last week in Jerez, where we were able to improve different aspects and I hope that we see this also at Le Mans."

Rossi’s last win at Le Mans came in 2008, but the 42 year-old has seven podiums since then including four second places, although scoring points will be the realistic aim one would imagine come Sunday.  

 

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