MotoGP: Rossi surprised by qualifying pace

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Valentino Rossi has said he was ‘surprised’ to lap under the outright circuit record on his way to a front row start for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix as he continues to struggle with the Movistar Yamaha.

While happy with his performance in qualifying, the nine-time world champion played down his chances of fighting for victory tomorrow as he remains unconvinced Yamaha have resolved the tyre issue problems that have plagued them in recent rounds.

While Rossi made reference to fighting for the podium, he said he’s expecting it to be tough and says he may struggle to match the strong pace of the Hondas.

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“We started from a good level on Friday, tried to improve on Saturday but we weren’t able to improve our feeling with the bike,” Rossi said. “It feels a bit worse than yesterday. Hopefully the weather remains the same for tomorrow and we can try for the race.

“It was a bit of a surprise to go quite fast as I thought I was in trouble. We need to see if we can improve, especially with tyre life. At the beginning this year we have not been so bad but we’ve suffered a lot with degradation so the second half of the race will be hard. I hope we can be competitive for the podium, but it might have to be the last step!” 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing