NO PODIUM, BUT ROSSI LEAVES WITH TWO-YEAR CONTRACT
Valentino Rossi admitted, after his fourth place finish in the opening race of 2016, that he simply had no answer to the impressive performance of teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Rossi was able to stay with the lead group of Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez for the entire race, eventually finishing only 0.368s behind the runner-up Ducati, but admitted afterwards that fourth was the best he was capable of on the day.
“It wasn’t a decision to not push at the end, it wasn’t a mistake in strat-
egy. It was just because I don’t have any more than this. So I was strong, but not strong enough to try an attack.
“I did not have one sector, one braking area, one part where I was faster than the guys in front of me. I was always there, but always 10 metres behind. I tried to stay behind, but unfortunately I don’t have enough speed for attacking - that was the problem.”
However, despite being unable to secure a place on the podium, Rossi left Qatar as one of a very select few that have their future secure and a contract in place for two more seasons.
“I spoke with Yamaha after the test and they told me they would be very happy if I continued, so in my mind that was it. The contract more or less was ready, and we said ‘why wait?’ and I agreed, so we did not wait! For me, it is right that I finish my career with Yamaha.”
With the deal done, Rossi was able to come away from the race happy with his performance in sitting with the leading pack. And, with a better understanding of the new Michelin tyres coming from a full race’s worth of data on them, he is confident now that the team will have a better understanding of what to do next time out in Argentina to close the gap to the leading group.
Rossi said: “It’s very important to understand the rear tyre choice, because I don’t know if I could have been more competitive with the softer tyre. Marquez and I went with the hard, and it looks like we suffered a bit more compared to Lorenzo and Dovizioso. But this is not sure, so maybe I could have put on the soft and gone slower.
“We arrived behind and unfortunately didn‘t get on the podium, but it was a good race. We are there, we have to work, but for sure we are competitive. Last year in Argentina was a great race, one of the best, with a great pace, and I was coming from behind, but this year it will be a different story, especially with the tyres.
“We still need to understand our potential this year.”
‘For me, it is right that I finish my career with