MotoGP Qatar FP1, Rossi: my most difficult start of recent years.

A second and 483 thousandths can be an incredibly long time, especially if you are measuring the distance between yourself and your teammate. Valentino knows something about that who, during his first (and only) free practice session in Qatar, saw Viñales moving easily up the rankings, while he was grasping for solid footholds to begin a climb that seemed to be quite impervious.

“The result is nothing special - he commented on his 9th place final position - but we were able to find something positive. We made various changes that, putting them all together, should work.”

You don’t seem as pessimistic as your times may lead to believe…
“Because my feeling on the bike was not bad. In fact, with the soft tyre I could have pushed harder and shaved off a few tenths, enough to finish in 5th or 6th place.”

Viñales would have been far off anyway.
“Maverick is doing very, very well, both in terms of the flying lap and pace. He is riding well and he has interpreted the Yamaha in the best possible way.”

Can you catch him up?
“To be honest, first I would need to catch up everyone between him and me (he laughs). I’m not as worried about the flying lap as about pace: there I need to shave off a half a second to reach the group of riders behind Maverick.”

What is the problem?
“My confidence in the front, but it is more a problem of tyres than bike. What I mean is that the new front Michelin brought is softer, both the compound and the carcass. So I move around a lot in braking and I am unable to go into corners fast.”

You are using two different frames…
“They are both 2017 versions that I already had in the last tests here in Qatar, but there wasn’t much time to test them. But that isn’t the problem.”

Is this the most difficult championship start for you in recent years?
“I don’t remember exactly what happened in 2013 when I returned to Yamaha, but in recent season I had always been faster than now.”



1. Maverick Viñales ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 54.316s [Lap 17/18] 335km/h (Top Speed) 
2. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 54.912s +0.596s [17/18] 338km/h 
3. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 55.210s +0.894s [15/16] 338km/h 
4. Jonas Folger GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 1m 55.587s +1.271s [15/15] 333km/h 
5. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP17) 1m 55.607s +1.291s [15/17] 343km/h 
6. Loris Baz FRA Reale Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP15) 1m 55.624s +1.308s [16/16] 334km/h 
7. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 55.639s +1.323s [15/15] 334km/h 
8. Johann Zarco FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 1m 55.792s +1.476s [17/18] 334km/h 
9. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 55.799s +1.483s [18/18] 340km/h 
10. Aleix Espargaro ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 1m 55.872s +1.556s [14/15] 332km/h 
11. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP17) 1m 55.873s +1.557s [5/17] 343km/h 
12. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP16) 1m 56.000s +1.684s [16/16] 340km/h 
13. Andrea Iannone ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 1m 56.027s +1.711s [16/17] 335km/h 
14. Alvaro Bautista ESP Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP16) 1m 56.128s +1.812s [17/19] 344km/h 
15. Karel Abraham CZE Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP15) 1m 56.399s +2.083s [14/14] 338km/h 
16. Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP17) 1m 56.419s +2.103s [8/15] 342km/h 
17. Jack Miller AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 1m 56.453s +2.137s [10/16] 335km/h 
18. Alex Rins ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)* 1m 56.502s +2.186s [15/16] 335km/h 
19. Tito Rabat ESP Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 1m 56.725s +2.409s [17/18] 336km/h 
20. Hector Barbera ESP Reale Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP16) 1m 56.725s +2.409s [13/14] 342km/h 
21. Pol Espargaro ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16) 1m 57.630s +3.314s [11/16] 335km/h 
22. Sam Lowes GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)* 1m 57.887s +3.571s [12/14] 331km/h 
23. Bradley Smith GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16) 1m 58.114s +3.798s [17/17] 333km/h 

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