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

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS - By Simon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER @Mc­n­sport mo­tor­cy­cle­news

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!’

WORLD STAND­INGS

Mar­quez 154 Dovizioso 133

Viñales 140 Rossi 132

Viñales made the best of a bad lot at the Czech GP

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