Valentino Rossi slumps to worst qualifying of season

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 17 August 2013 22:52

Valentino Rossi will need to produce one of his best performances of 2013 to extend his current podium run in Indianapolis tomorrow after he slumped to his worst qualifying result of the campaign.

Rossi will start tomorrow’s 27-lap race from a lowly ninth after front-end woes left him way off the record-breaking pace set by rookie sensation Marc Marquez.

The nine-times world champion, who has finished on the rostrum in each of the previous three races in Assen, Sachsenring and Laguna Seca, could only set a best time of 1.39.356 that left him 1.398s behind Repsol Honda rival Marquez.

Rossi was the slowest Yamaha rider on track and rookie Bradley Smith will start from two places higher up the grid.

The Italian, who is 46-points behind Marquez in the title chase, said: “I have a lot of problems in braking and entry and when I try to push I have too much movement on the front. I made some mistakes too and had two moments on the front and I lost a lot of feeling. The position and the time from the top guy is very high. For the race pace I am not very far behind but there are lot of people fast and constant.

Today is a bad result and tomorrow will be hard and tough. I expect that this track is more difficult but I had hoped to be closer to the front."

Rossi thought he had eradicated front-end woes that dogged him in the early part of the season during a breakthrough test at the Motorland Aragon track in June.

But he said his struggles today felt like he had gone back to square one and he added: “The modified fork we tried at Aragon was a good step both in the races and the qualifying and I was always in the top five. But here is more like the beginning of the season. This track is the worst for me, I am always struggling a lot."