"The race will be 42 minutes and today in 42 minutes the weather changed from wet, to dry, to wet again!"

Those were the words of Valentino Rossi as he described the challenge of trying to adapt to the "incredible" weather conditions at Le Mans on Saturday.

"When it's like this it's very scary, especially because maybe the first part of the track is dry but then you arrive very fast at a wet part," he said.

"It's very dangerous, very scary, you have to be lucky to slow down in time. And also although the track dries very fast, some wet patches remain, so it's not easy to understand.

"But fortunately we are able to find a window to make the Qualifying 2 practice in the dry."

Rossi and Petronas Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli were the only riders to correctly start the Q2 session on slicks, others initially fitting wets before immediately pitting.

"In the Petronas team we made the right choice, right strategy, because my coach Idalio Gavira gave to us the right way and we started with slicks and it was a small advantage for us," Rossi said.

But the potential advantage of extra laps was negated when Rossi suffered a big scare at the final corner.

"Unfortunately, on the second lap I went a bit wide at the last corner and touched a wet patch, it's a question of maybe 5cm. I lost the rear and it was a big moment.

"I was able to recover but I lost some feeling in sector 4. It was a shame because at that moment I was strong, I had red helmets and I was fast. Then also on my last lap I was a bit too conservative.

"But at the end I was able to make a decent lap and I will start ninth tomorrow. That's a lot better than in the recent races and also my pace is better, especially in the dry.

"Yesterday I was fast in the wet, the position was not fantastic because I didn't put a new tyre at the end but my pace was not so bad. Today we had more problems and we don’t understand very well why.

"It looks like the Yamaha has been struggling more in the wet and that the other bikes are able to accelerate faster out of the corners.

"The problem is that also tomorrow the weather forecast is like today, so it will be very difficult and we will see."

While Rossi saved his scare at the final corner there have been no less than 77 falls, across all three grand prix classes, at Le Mans so far this weekend, including 19 in MotoGP.

"Usually when we speak with Michelin, to be safe we need 20 degrees on the asphalt. So it's means 15-16 air, maybe 14. So all this weekend is too dangerous!" said Rossi.

Michelin agreed with Rossi that track temperatures have all been under 20 degrees so far this weekend, ranging from 12 to 18 degrees on Friday and 14 to 18 degrees on Saturday.

Meanwhile the official ground temperatures in the MotoGP sessions so far, presumably taken in a different place, are listed as; 9 degrees (FP1), 14 degrees (FP2), 7 degrees (FP3), 21 degrees (FP4), 22 degrees (Q1) and 21 degrees (Q2).

Either way, at least half of the sessions look to have been below the minimum Michelin track temperature threshold stated by Rossi, which also explains why Sunday's warm-up sessions have been delayed by 30-minutes.

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro was adamant that such a situation cannot continue.

"We can’t come to Le Mans with 12 degrees on the tarmac, because the tyres that Michelin and Dunlop are bringing to us are not working. I don’t know if someone sees it as funny that we crash, but to us it is not," he said.

"Everybody is crashing. Are we all idiots? No, we are not. I’m very angry about this. Today I’ve been fast in the wet. It’s not that I don’t want to ride in the wet. I do. It’s part of my job. It’s not a problem. But not in 12 degrees.

"Why don’t we change the race to a normal situation? If not, push the manufacturers of the tyres to do a special tyre for Le Mans.

"In the MotoGP allocation of front tyres, the 'K' tyre is very soft. I would say it’s the standard tyre that we use everywhere and nobody’s able to use it this weekend. Everybody’s with the 'P'.

"Normally the 'P' tyre I don’t even put it on the bike, I use it as a transport tyre. It’s super soft and we are even like this crashing. And Michelin have no other option which is softer. We have to think about it."

One suggestion has been for Le Mans to swap future race dates with Mugello, due to be held at the end of this month.

"I don’t know how much can change in two weeks," said Rossi. "Maybe one month would be better, but this is not a choice for us and Le Mans has to organise also the 24-Hour car race in June."

Rossi's team-mate Franco Morbidelli qualified in fourth place.

 

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