Quick off the mark
One thing has been a common trend in Valentino Rossi’s comments all season long is the need to improve his performance not only in the opening parts of the race but during the opening sessions of the weekend and in qualifying.
And that was something he took to heart at Jerez, delivering one of the best weekend performances we’ve seen from him in a very long time; only finishing off the theoretical podium in one session.
His qualifying pace was also indicative of yet another reinvention of Rossi form. Incredibly, taking pole for the first time at the Jerez circuit for over a decade, the result also marked the first time Rossi has started from the front row for three consecutive races since 2009.
The team have been working to help him out in perfecting his performance off the line, especially after a burnt out clutch at Austin was a contributing factor in an out of character crash for the Italian at the Texan track.
They fitted a new sensor to accurately gauge the forces loaded by him into the clutch at the start as the team try and resolve the issue. Using an upgraded clutch in Jerez, Rossi’s blistering start left him joking afterwards about a prerace strategy talk with one of his mechanics: “My mechanic Brent said to me on the grid ‘ first from the first corner to the last’ and I thought to myself ‘sounds like a good idea!’ I did a good start and I felt good with the bike from the beginning!”