Qatar MotoGP: Valentino Rossi chasing grip

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Reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi’s hopes of ending Casey Stoner’s domination of the opening race of the season were hit by a lack of grip on the opening night of the season in Qatar.

The 31-year-old, who is bidding for a tenth world title in 2010, ended the first session in hot but breezy conditions with the third quickest time behind a dominant Stoner and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. 

Rossi clocked a best time of 1.56.028 to finish over 0.5s adrift of Stoner who looked in ominous form as the Australian pursues a fourth successive win in the season’s opening race.

Rossi, who was 0.002s slower than Lorenzo, told MCN: “It wasn’t too good. I expected a better performance. Already the lap time is not so bad, but I think it is possible to try and go faster.

"And also if you want to try to keep fight with Stoner we have to improve, because I have too much sliding. I don’t have enough grip, and if I try to go faster I slide more, so we need to make some modification to the bike.

"We have some ideas for tomorrow that we hope will work. And our work is to try and catch Casey, to arrive more close.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt