Rossi looking for positives after opening day

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Eighth fastest while Jorge Lorenzo sets the pace illustrates how difficult this weekend, and winning a tenth world title, could be for Valentino Rossi but the Italian felt that there was positives to take from the day with solid pace in opening practice offering some solace. Rossi was third quickest in the opening session but dropped back to eighth in the afternoon session after struggling to find the expected benefit of the softer tyre.

"At the end the result of the day is not fantastic for sure because I'm just in the eighth position," admitted Rosi. "But in general, the day was not so bad. I have from the morning a quite good pace. Also in the afternoon, when I use the hard rear, my performance was not so bad. In fact, I was very optimistic for the end of the practice, because I can use one soft rear, and usually when you use the soft rear, you easily improve your lap time by half a second to one second.

"But for some reason, I wasn't able to improve a lot, and for me was a bad surprise, I don't expect. But this means that we are not very good, for me we are not well balanced with the bike. We are pushing too much on the rear tire, and the soft suffer a bit too much. We need to work, we have a lot of things to do, and we have to try to make better.

Qualifying could once again be a very challenging session for Rossi with the championship leader having struggled all year to get on terms with Lorenzo. With Ducati and Suzuki availing of the softer Open class tyre there is potential for plenty of surprises with the Avintia and Pramac riders able to act as spoilers in the session.

" Jorge is very strong, he's the fastest, also in the rhythm. It looks like he is at 100% [physically] and he doesn't have a lot of problems with the shoulder, so for sure it will be very difficult to beat him, but we have to try, and try to improve. Also because Pedrosa is fast, and also the Ducati are very strong. It looks like Márquez suffer a bit with the hand. But anyway, he is strong, so we have to improve our performance."

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Steve English

By Steve English