British MotoGP: Valentino Rossi unhurt in fast qualifying crash
16 June 2012 19:05
Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone from 10th place on the grid after he walked away unscathed from a high-speed crash in a rain disrupted qualifying session.
The 33-year-old lost the front-end of his factory GP12 as soon as he touched the brakes approaching the Vale chicane while he tried to improve on his time of 2.05.416.
Rossi was thrown violently to the ground with no warning and he slid for several metres before coming to a rest. His GP12 machine was badly damaged in the spill but Rossi was thankful for his Dainese airbag system, which inflated immediately on impact.
Rossi’s team-mate Nicky Hayden crashed in the exact same circumstances later in the session and the Italian told MCN: “Today was again very difficult for us and I struggle a lot in this track. We always have a problem and we struggle with the grip on the front and it looks like here in Silverstone that for me the problem is also bigger.
"In fact I did a crash at the last chicane because of this problem and Nicky did the same. There is one bump and you go over a crest, so the bike unloads the front and because we have not enough front grip we lose the front.
"But both of us are fit and in my case I think the Dainese airbag saved my shoulder because I hit the ground hard.
"In the dry today we are struggling too much, especially to stop the bike and put the bike into the corner and I am quite slow. At the end I was also unlucky because I did my lap time with the hard tyre and when I took the soft it started to rain and if not I think I can go 0.5s faster. But anyway this is nothing fantastic.
"For the rhythm I am quite constant with the hard tyre but I am also quite slow, so we have to understand for tomorrow if we can go faster to stay closer to the other guys.”
Rossi said data had shown his Ohlins front forks had not been fully compressed and he has lost control of his Desmosedici as weight transferred off the front wheel.
He said: “If you look at the data the fork is normal and not at the bottom. The problem is that in the moment the fork comes back a bit after the compression the bike unloads a bit and you lose the front.
"I was quite straight and I tried to do five or six laps to understand the rhythm but nothing fantastic or pushing hard. And I didn’t have the feeling I was arriving too fast. I was quiet but lost the front, so it looks like a bad place for our bike.”
Apart from the crash, Rossi said the big gap between himself and the fastest pace at Silverstone was down to his inability to master the long, technical and fast track.
And he said the layout and characteristics of the Northamptonshire venue only exaggerated the understeer issue that has been the main issue since he first rode the Ducati back in November 2010.
He added: “I make a step but it is nothing fantastic but I ride in a better way. We struggle very much with the front in braking and I can’t stop the bike.
"I arrive too fast into the corner and it is difficult for me to put the bike into the corner and I go wide and lose the line. This is my biggest problem and what I have struggled with very much with this bike. But in this track it is also worse.”