Rossi 'not fantastic, gap to the fastest'

Valentino Rossi ends day one at Assen with the ninth fastest time but is far from content; “I have a gap in the race pace compared to the faster guys.”
Rossi 'not fantastic, gap to the fastest'

Valentino Rossi sneaked into the all-important top ten at the close of the first day of MotoGP running at Assen, but was far from content, stating he was still some way off where he wanted to be.

The 40-year encountered issues with his M1’s electronics in FP1, a session in which he placed a lowly twelfth. There were improvements late into the afternoon, with the Italian ending the day ninth overall.

Still, with team-mate Maverick Viñales and satellite Yamaha runner Fabio Quartararo trading first and second positions from one session to the other, Rossi was still some way off his – and the bike’s – full potential.

“At the end I am in the top 10 this afternoon,” began Rossi. “This morning we had a problem with the first bike and that was the best bike and we lose 15 minutes and after we are always a little bit in delay because everybody when they go in the track they are able to improve.

“In the afternoon it was a bit better, in the end the time attack was not too bad and I am in the top ten but I am not very happy. I mean I am not fast enough, my pace is not fantastic and I have a gap in the race pace compared to the faster guys.

“So we have a lot of work to do, because in some part of the track, especially in the fast part, I don’t feel very comfortable with the bike, I am not able to be strong like I want, so we need to work with the setting.

“And we work a little bit with the tyres also, but as always the choice is very open so we need to continue and we’ll see. But the first important thing is to try to be stronger especially in the pace because I’m not fantastic.”

On the problem he faced in FP1, Rossi explained, “I wanted to start with the first one because it was the best one, the other one is a different setting. But is electronic, electric problem, the system doesn’t work so I had to stop.

“But the problem was that they need time to understand, because I wanted to try to start with that bike, but after I had to wait, anyway, sometimes it happens.”

The nine-time world champion, who last won a MotoGP race here in the Netherlands 24 months ago, switched between fairings in a bid to find the ideal balance between wheelie control and front-end stability.

“The fairing I think is the same, we changed just the wings,” he said. “We tried the wings because in this track you have always wheelie problem and the wings improve the wheelie but after the bike is a bit more difficult to ride.

“So at the end I prefer the standard one. We need to improve the feeling because we have a lot of parts that you are really fast, you need a good feeling with the bike, so we need to improve the balance and some details to push more.

“And tomorrow morning try to stand in the top ten, like this afternoon and that is not easy because everybody are fast, but we still have to work.”

On the state of the track, he added, “The track is not so bad, especially with good weather like this. And for me the condition is good, here in Assen you have always quite good grip.

“But have a lot of bumps and is a bit tricky the part, turn six and seven, where this morning Lorenzo crashed, have a lot of bumps. You know, is a modified track, it’s not the real track.

“So when you ride the bike you feel that the track was not born like this, it was born in another way but after for safety they modified. But now is fast and is a bit difficult. But in general, apart from that place, the track is in a good condition. “