Two crashes mean 'very complicated' day for Valentino Rossi, Dovi 'closer'

Two Saturday falls leave Valentino Rossi 23rd on the grid for the first of his final home Misano MotoGP races, new team-mate Andrea Dovizioso 'closer and closer' during day two on the Petronas M1.
Valentino Rossi, San Marino MotoGP, 18 September 2021
Valentino Rossi, San Marino MotoGP, 18 September 2021
© Gold and Goose

Valentino Rossi will start his penultimate home MotoGP race from just 23rd on the grid, ahead of only new Petronas Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, after a 'complicated' Saturday at Misano.

A fall at Turn 13 in the morning FP3 session saw Rossi finish in 18th place, therefore missing direct Qualifying 2 access, but just 1.1s from the top.

The 42-year-old's qualifying spill then occurred at Turn 15, probably due to his hard tyre front tyre losing temperature after a small mistake.

"Today was very complicated because of the two crashes," said Rossi, who joked that perhaps it would be "the right choice" to take things easier in his final races, rather than pushing to the limit: "But I’m here and I want to make the best [results I can].

"Unfortunately this morning I did a mistake and I suffer a lot on the bumps, but I wasn’t so bad for the rhythm and I wanted to get into the top ten. I wanted to give the maximum; not do something crazy, but try for the best results I can.

"I’m very frustrated for the crash this afternoon because in FP4 I was not so bad and I think I can do a good lap in qualifying but it is like this.

"The problem is the hard front is better on braking, but on the left you are very much on the limit, especially Turn 6 and 15 which are corners where you don’t brake. It is difficult.

"On the second lap I made a small mistake in Turn 4 and went wide. I wanted to make another lap before changing the rear tyre because I thought I could improve and sincerely I slowed by only 4-5 seconds because of Turn 4 so I did not expect that I would lose the tyre.

"It was a bit unlucky. A shame, because if I can do a '32.9 on first lap it means I could have been better second time. On the other hand, I am happy I am okay because I crashed in the part of the track which is very fast."

Dovizioso meanwhile closed the gap substantially during his second day on the Petronas A-Spec M1, including 20th (out of 24 riders) and +1.1s in FP3.

"I’m not at a point yet where I can fully utilise the full potential of the bike, but I’m happy because I am getting closer and closer," said the Italian. "This was our target, it’s what we have to do and now we aim to be fast enough to stay with the other riders in the race.

"Yesterday I didn’t push. I couldn’t brake hard, entering to the limit and exit. So it’s normal to take a big gap when you are uncomfortable in the position [on the bike]. So today I was able to be a bit more comfortable, so I was able to push – still not normal, but now I can start to understand the bike.

"It’s very close, the characteristics and the DNA is very close to 2012 [at Tech3 Yamaha] and it’s completely the opposite to the way I rode the Ducati.

"It will take time for sure because you have to ride really, really different. You have a lot of positive things on braking and entry and in the middle of the corners. But you have to be so fast in the middle of the corners and arrive to the traction area with a lot of speed. That is very different to what I did in the past. It will take time to do that I think.

"In this moment I’m working on two things: how to use the bike, and use the tyre. It’s two different things. One thing is to adapt to the bike, it's ahuge change and it’s what I have to do to be fast. Another thing is to give important feedback to Yamaha and it’s what they’d like to develop the bike.

"Every rider, when they ride the same bike for many years, they can see a lot of things but not everything [about what their bike needs]. When you come from a different bike, it’s clear what you need. That will be very important to Yamaha. So my work is on those two things."

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