Valencia MotoGP: Valentino Rossi laments ‘bad’ practice
Valentino Rossi conceded he will need to make drastic improvements to have a chance of ending his Yamaha career with a victory in Sunday’s Valencia MotoGP race.
The Fiat Yamaha was left languishing down in ninth place on the overall practice timesheets today and although he was less than 0.2s away from Colin Edwards in third, he was nearly a second adrift of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in first.
Rossi’s best time of 1.33.661 was the result of a struggle with rear traction and a wheelie issue exiting the final corner.
The 31-year-old, who will move immediately to Ducati after Sunday’s 30-lap Valencia clash, said: “It was quite a bad practice, especially this afternoon.
"This morning was not so bad but this afternoon we tried to make a different setting but we were not able to find good grip and the bike is very difficult to ride.
"I am quite slow this afternoon and the modifications we made were in the wrong way, so we have to hope that the work of today is important to improve the performance tomorrow.
"Tomorrow will be a crucial day for the race, especially tomorrow morning when we have to try and find a good balance for the bike and be ready for the afternoon.
"I made more or less the same lap time in both sessions because we have to fight wheelies a lot, so in the straight I lost quite a lot and the rear grip is not fantastic.”
Rossi said he didn’t feel out of contention or incapable of cutting the gap to Lorenzo and Aussie Casey Stoner at the top of the timesheets.
Edwards was third but a massive 0.569s behind Stoner and Rossi added: “I think all is open at the moment. I think that Lorenzo and Stoner are the strongest today and after there are a lot of riders who are fast but very close to me.
"The target is to improve and overtake all the second group and try to arrive close to Lorenzo and Stoner.”
Lorenzo made a triumphant return home, the Spaniard riding in front of his home crowd for the first time since he clinched the title in Sepang last month.
The 23-year-old, who is chasing a ninth win on Sunday, said: “We started strongly from the first moment and I am feeling so confident, plus my bike is working very well here. We need to continue like this tomorrow and make a few small steps forward with our setting.”