French MotoGP: Valentino Rossi confident despite missing front row

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Seven-times world champion Valentino Rossi is confident he can fight for victory in tomorrow’s French MotoGP after he narrowly missed qualifying on the front row of the grid this afternoon.

The Fiat Yamaha rider, bidding to equal Spanish legend Angel Nieto’s tally of 90 Grand Prix victories, ended up fourth fastest in qualifying as he failed to beat reigning world champion Casey Stoner to third by just 0.163secs.

The 29-year-old Italian said: “Today everything seemed to go very well and I was quite confident; I thought that with the last qualifying tyre I could do 1:32.9 or even eight and be on the front row, but at the end we had a small problem and couldn’t manage this.

“Of course the first row is always better but with the race tyres we are in good shape, with a strong rhythm and a great set-up. Tomorrow I will look to make a good start, try to get to the front immediately and then try to stay there with the other fast riders.

“As I said, our race pace is fine but there are four or five other riders with a similar fast pace so it’s going to be a very interesting race tomorrow. My target is to be on the podium so now we’re hoping for another dry day and then we will do our very best to be there.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt