MotoGP Argentina, Rossi: the 2016 tyre is back? I wasn't the only one with problems.

Time passes for everyone, Valentino included, although his elixir of eternal youth seems to be working perfectly, as proved by his podium finish in Qatar ten days ago. In Argentina he's reaching a milestone that no-one's celebrated before now: Grand Prix race number 350.

“It means I've competed in a lot of races and spent a lot of time here - smiles the Doctor - I'm proud but it's not really the number of races that is important, but rather than number of podiums and wins, their quality”.

Termas de Rio Hondo will give him his next chance to add to the tally and he may have another ally: the old front tyre, that of last year, that Michelin has unexpectedly decided to reintroduce.

“I know they've brought a front with the old carcass, it's stiffer - confirms Rossi - When I spoke to Michelin about my problems with the new tyre, they told me I was the only one having difficulty, perhaps that wasn't the case... Anyway, it will be interesting to test it and see if it offers better sensation”.

Already in Losail, Valentino took a step forward, able to pull out his usual magic out of the bag in time for the race.

“Working over the race weekend is always different to the tests, but it was my fault - he admits - I needed more time than Maverick  to understand the new bike, but now it's working well and we've reached a good level. Here I'll try to start from what we did in Qatar, I think we improved a lot over that weekend and the race was a surprise for us too, it didn't go badly. Starting the season with a podium is important, and I wasn't far from the front two".

In Argentina he's always done well in the past.

“I like this track, it's fun to ride a MotoGP here - he confirms - I've always completed good races but first we need to see what track conditions are like, last year the asphalt was very dirty and we had bad weather. As I've said, in Qatar we took a good step forward in terms of the front but still have other problems. I hope that's solved but I know that each track is different and I have to try and be more competitive right from first practice. It's true that there's not much grip here, just like Qatar, but it's a different situation. Last year I was able to do well anyway”.

Also because the competition is, as ever, stiff.

“There are 10 riders who can fight for the podium and to be up front in each session - analyses the Doctor - It will be important to do better in practice and on Saturday I hope to qualify top 5”.

That group of riders also includes Miller and Crutchlow, who features in a question that came from a Rossi fan via social media: would Valentino prefer to skydive with Jack and be a passenger on a bike with Cal?

“I did skydiving with Gibernau 15 years ago,  I thought he wanted to kill me- he laughs - Throwing myself out of a plan with Miller is risky but less than letting Cal take charge of the bike”.


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