ROSSI’S FIGHT NOW WITH LORENZO
Italian switches his attention away from Marquez and on to Lorenzo in fight for runner-up spot
Valentino Rossi has admitted that after the weekend’s results at Motorland Aragon, his focus for the remainder of the 2016 Motogp season will be to battle with team-mate Jorge Lorenzo for second place in the championship.
The decision comes after a disappointing end to the weekend for the Movistar Yamaha man at the Spanish race, when an error in the closing stages of the race all but ended any chances he had of closing down title leader and race winner Marc Marquez.
Repsol Honda rider Marquez now enjoys a 52-point lead in the series, and Rossi admitted after the race that the chances of taking a record 10th title this year are all but gone.
Rossi said: “It was already difficult with 43 points, and now it is even more difficult with 52. But I don’t want to think about the championship. We just need to work, to stay concentrated, and in three weeks we will go to the overseas races that I always like a lot. Usually our bike is strong on those circuits so we can fight and try to have the podium and especially fight for the victory.”
But while the title might be out of his grasp, especially with Marquez’s newfound consistency this season, there is still lots to play for as the Italian takes on Lorenzo.
“What’s important is to make good races. Don’t make mistakes, take points, arrive on the podium and especially try to win. 52 points is a lot, but at the same time the fight for second place is quite close with Lorenzo. Marc and Lorenzo are very strong in the next races to the end. It’s like now we are in the final stages and we need to be competitive everywhere.”
And while the end result at the weekend might have been a disappointment for Rossi, he can take some solace from the fact that he was able to get stuck right into the fight at Aragon. He ran at the front for much of the race after overhauling fast starter Maverick Viñales, who then went on to run off the track and finish fourth.
Rossi said: “The beginning of the race was a great battle. When I was in front I had good pace, I tried to push at the maximum but it was not enough. We worked during the weekend to try to be stronger in the second half of the race, but it didn’t work like we wanted. I gave everything, but Lorenzo in the second half of the race was stronger and faster, and he could catch me.”
It got even worse for the nine-times champion, though, on the penultimate lap of the race, when an uncharacteristic error put any hopes of beating Lorenzo firmly to bed.
“I wanted to try to make the fight on the last lap but unfortunately in turn 11 I made a mistake in the braking zone. I braked, it was a little bit too fast and it was too dangerous so I decided to cut the corner and went wide – if I hadn’t, it would have been a disaster. But the podium is good in Aragon because we always suffer a bit at this track.
“It’s a shame and I’m not fully happy with the result, as I wanted to arrive as the first of the Yamahas and in front of Lorenzo. I lost four points to Jorge, but it’s still another podium for me. We hope we can improve on this and that we can be more competitive for the overseas races.”
‘Lorenzo was stronger than me in the second half of the race’ VALENTINO ROSSI