No qualifying joy again for Valentino Rossi

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Valentino Rossi’s bid for a second podium finish of 2013 in Catalunya tomorrow will start from the third row of the grid after the Italian’s difficulties in qualifying continued in scorching hot conditions today.

Rossi’s hopes of boosting his rostrum hopes with a vastly improved qualifying performance ended when a lap of 1.41.959 left him only seventh on the grid.

He was only 0.117s outside of the top six but the 34-year-old has still not qualified higher than fifth this season on Yamaha’s factory YZR-M1 and he said he is struggling in braking at two or three points around the Catalunya track near Barcelona.

The nine-times world champion said: “I struggle mainly in the braking. Unfortunately we still need something more, especially in the lap of qualifying and with one more tenth we can start in the top five but I still have to improve. When I try to go faster, I am very close to the limit on the braking and the others can improve the lap time a bit more than me.

There are three points on the lap where I lose 0.1s each time compared to Jorge (Lorenzo) and Cal (Crutchlow). If I try to brake a bit later it is difficult for me to stop the bike for the corner. We are still working on the setting to improve this aspect.”

Rossi was still relatively happy with his performance today, even though he never came close to topping the timesheets as he did in practice yesterday (Friday).

He added: “Today was not so bad and we work well on the race pace. I think tomorrow the race will be long and interesting because it looks like Dani (Pedrosa) is very fast. Jorge is also fast but we are close and also Cal and Marc (Marquez), so there are three or four riders with a good and constant pace.

It will be important to do a good start and keep a good rhythm and it will be interesting to understand the tyre choice of all the guys about whether they run the hard or the soft rear. I think everybody will race with the same tyre but still we don’t know. On the grid all the top guys will decide the same as each other.

With the hard it is very difficult. The problem is after some laps the rear starts to spin and the temperature goes up too much and it becomes difficult to control the bike. But I don’t think there is a particular strategy with the tyre choice.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt