Valentino Rossi admitted that his hopes of claiming pole position for tomorrow’s Estoril GP in Portugal were ruined by a qualifying tyre gamble that backfired.
Rossi opted to run a new Michelin qualifying tyre for the first time, which is designed to last for two flying lap. But the gamble failed as the tyre only had optimum grip for one lap.
It left Rossi with only one tyre left to try and claim pole position, but he ended up being beaten by Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner.
The seven-times world champion still managed to claim third place and a slot on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s 28-lap race having clocked a best of 1.36.576 on his second ‘standard’ soft tyre.
Rossi, who confirmed he will race again with Yamaha’s new pneumatic valve YZR-M1 motor that failed earlier this month in Misano, said: “Unfortunately after Misano we try to use a qualifying tyre that would last for two laps like Bridgestone, but it was a bad card to play because I had a lot less grip on the second lap.
“I had just one chance on the last qualifier and with this type of tyre it is hard to arrive at the limit at the first attempt because the grip is very high.
“But 36.5 on the first lap is not so bad. If I had two tyres the same maybe it’s possible to go for the pole position, but now we will go back to the normal qualifier for the next race.”