"So important" for Rossi to claim pole

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Valentino Rossi's first pole position of the season was greeted by huge cheers from the Assen crowd and afterwards the championship leader was under no illusions as to how crucial it was for him.

“It is so important," said Rossi. "This season I’m always competitive in the race, which is most important, but at the same time I’m struggling too much in practice. Not just pole positon, but never on the first row. When you start behind sometimes you can make a good result anyway, but it’s always more difficult. And especially in the last races Jorge starting from the front is impossible to catch. Even if in Barcelona, for example, my pace was good.

“So we tried to improve. Sincerely we don’t modify a lot of things. The difference is that already from yesterday I feel very confident with the bike. Because already from Barcelona we worked with some different setting and after in the test in Aragon we continued with the good speed and also we tried the new chassis from Yamaha that is very good for me. I like it a lot."

Being able to hit the ground running at the start of the weekend was crucial for Rossi and it's meant that he hasn't had to play catch up over the course of the weekend. Instead of starting from the third row starting from the front gives him a crucial advantage during tomorrow's 26 lap race. If he can convert his pole into an early lead he'll be well placed to take advantage of his greatest strength of his race pace.

“I have a quite good pace and so I can be competitive tomorrow, but at the same time there are a lot of riders that are very fast, with a good pace. The first eight riders are within 0.5 and the level is high and it will be very tight as always.”

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Steve English

By Steve English