Ital­ian switches his at­ten­tion away from Mar­quez and on to Lorenzo in fight for run­ner-up spot

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN SPAIN MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

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

Time to fo­cus on hold­ing his team-mate off for the next four races? Rossi reck­ons so

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