NO PODIUM, BUT ROSSI LEAVES WITH TWO-YEAR CON­TRACT

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

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-

VALENTINO ROSSI

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

Yamaha’

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