Brno Motogp Rossi messes up but fights to keep title hopes alive
TOP STORY Nine-time world champion leaves pitstop too late but salvages a fighting fourth
Valentino Rossi has held his hands up and admitted to a significant failing in his racecraft after yet another flag-to-flag race went wrong for the Movistar Yamaha rider at Sunday’s Czech Grand Prix.
The nine-time world champion’s race looked like a mirror image of last year’s German Grand Prix, where he ignored the instructions of his team to pit for a dry set-up, allowing Marc Marquez to romp to an almost unopposed win despite a crash, while Rossi struggled on wet tyres on a drying track.
But despite Marquez’s victory on Sunday’s at the Brno circuit, Rossi was adamant that the circumstances were very different from Germany – and that despite still not being a master of the two-part race format, he had learned an important lesson from last year’s disaster.
“We had agreed with my team that when I saw the signal to come in, I would, but unfortunately the signal arrived one lap too late. I always have this problem in these conditions when I am leading – a lot of riders are helped by being in the second group; one of them enters and they all enter. I was a bit too strong in the wet!
“Last year in Sachsenring when they showed me the board, I carried on, but today I told them ‘when you tell me to come in, I will – I promise!’ But it arrived too late; for sure knowing the moment to come into the pits is not my strong point. For sure we should have come in a lap earlier, but we were unlucky today. Usually I’m the only stupid one with this decision, but this time in Brno the team agreed with me and we all looked like donkeys!”
Despite losing out significantly by staying on a drying track on soft tyres while Marquez was clearing off at the front of Sunday’s race, Rossi came away pleased with his performance and his fourth-place result.
Enjoying a strong weekend in both wet and dry conditions – and taking
both a front row start and 13 valuable championship points – he said afterwards that if the race had been run in either wet or dry conditions (and not both), he could have been in the mix for a valuable win as the season kicked into life after the summer break.
He said: “It’s always difficult in the flag-to-flag races – they aren’t my strong point. But in the end, the result isn’t so bad, and we improved a lot from other flag-to-flag races in the past and I finished fourth. I think before the end of my career we can win one of these races... eventually!
“In full dry or in full wet conditions, I could have fought for the podium for sure, and it remains a good weekend for us. We worked well in the box, I feel good with the bike, and we were strong in all conditions. The race was very hard, and it’s a shame that we couldn’t have taken more points, but in the end fourth is very good considering what happened.”
Yamaha not yet ready with pit-to-bike comms system
Sunday’s race marked the first time that Motogp teams have used the new pit-to-bike communication system that Rossi pushed for following his disastrous race last year at the Sachsenring, with a number of teams able to issue instructions directly to the bikes’ dashboards instructing the riders when to enter the pits.
However, despite being one of the most vocal riders calling for the system last year, Rossi admitted after the race that his Yamaha squad have yet to finalise the software upgrades that they need to allow them to use the new system.
He told MCN: “It could help a lot, but unfortunately we’re not ready with the software in Yamaha. We need a bit more time, but we’re very close to being ready.”
‘This time I told them ‘when you tell me to come in, I will – I promise!’
Marquez 154 Dovizioso 133
Viñales 140 Rossi 132
Viñales made the best of a bad lot at the Czech GP