MotoGP Qatar, Rossi: Vinales seems stronger than Lorenzo.

“I'm behind in my studies”, Valentino jokes about his age as he waits for the first day of school. Rather than a student, Rossi is more like the dean of the motorcycling professors, but the years don't seem to be weighing him down. In Qatar he's arrived with closely cropped hair, like a warrior preparing for his next battle, which by definition always brings new things.

“It's always exciting to start the season, races are very different to tests and I'm always very curious as to what will happen” he smiles.

Many are curious about your performance, after the winter…
“I've had difficult tests, I didn't do well. I start the season with many question market and also some worry. I didn't have great sensations and have to find out whether I'll be competitive enough, also because I have to line up alongside many fast riders”.

If you had to state two names who would they be?
“Vinales and Marquez are the toughest, they were very fast in testing, but the same can be said for Ducati, both with Dovizioso and Lorenzo. Then let's not forget Pedrosa, see, I've already named five or six”.

Vinales has impressed the most, has he impressed you too?
“When I knew Lorenzo was leaving and Maverick was taking his place, I said to myself: damn, he's strong and young, even younger than Lorenzo. But I didn't think he'd be so fast right from the outset, he seems faster than Lorenzo. I have to admit he's surprised me a little”.

You've joked that he brakes later and accelerates before you... can you be more precise?
“I said that precisely because I didn't want to go into details (he laughs). The M1 2017 requires a different setting and slightly different riding style compared to last year. Vinales has managed to interpret it better”.

Is that all?
“He and I are in two different situations, Maverick has arrived from Suzuki and wants to prove his worth. He's also very young”.

Has his team worked better too?
“Forcada's team is strong and has great experience, but I can say the same about mine. As I've said, Maverick has adapted well to the new bike”.

What point are you at right now?
“Vinales made the difference in the last test, I have to improve my pace to stay in the second group.  Right now, the situation continues to change, but I need to take a step forward to try to be in the top 5”.


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