Valentino Rossi failed to finish his return to the Dutch GP after crashing his Petronas Yamaha out at Assen’s fast turn seven on lap eight of Sunday’s race.
A bad start left the Italian at the back of the field after qualifying 12th for the 26-lap contest. Recovering to 17th by the sixth lap, his progress stalled as he slid, at high speed, into the turn seven gravel trap with this M1 flipping end over end.
“Is a great shame because our pace was not too bad,” Rossi said on Sunday afternoon.
“I had quite good potential so we expected to do a decent race but, unfortunately, I did a bad start. We changed something for the start and I had to change my way to start, so I didn't feel very comfortable and, like in Sachsenring, I did a bad start.
“After, I was a lot behind, and I try to make some overtaking. I try to go but I stayed behind the other bikes. Unfortunately, when you stay behind other bikes the front tyre has some problem and you feel a little bit less grip. I was able to overtake Bastianini and I was trying to push but unfortunately I lose the front into turn seven - we check the data and we don't understand very well. Anyway, I'm happy because, it was just a slide but it was high speed, and I'm okay. So this is important,” he explained.
With the championship heading into the five-week summer break, the usual discussions surrounding rider futures - Maverick Viñales’ included - abound. Rossi’s decision regarding his imminent, or not, retirement has always been anticipated in the upcoming weeks, with the Italian remaining elusive on both subjects.
“I always said that I know that this year is difficult, is a great challenge. My decision for next year depends very much from the result. The results of the first half of the season are not what we expect. We hoped to be stronger, to fight for the better positions, so the result doesn't help us. Now, is not the moment because I said that from the beginning of the season that I will decide in the next weeks about next year, and it will be like this and we'll let you know when I decide.
“It looks like, in the next weeks, something change. I don't know very well but maybe something will change, that we don't expect. But sincerely, for me, this doesn't change my decision, because my decision is correlated to the result. What's happening in the other team or with the other Yamahas, for me, is not a big difference.”
Having raced in the premier class for 22 season, Rossi has seen a multitude of changes across the discipline, for both bikes and riders, but how does he view the change in riding style needed in recent years to tame the ever-increasing speeds of the MotoGP machines.
“For me, in the last years, the riding style has changed, especially the position on the bike - now everybody are very much outside and very much forward, with the head, with the shoulder, with the elbow. Also, for me it changed very much the way to approach to the corners, the lines. Now, with these bikes and these tyres and these brakes, you can enter in the corner a lot faster, so you ride in a bit different way compared to the last five years. I don't know how much is correlated to the aerodynamics. The aerodynamics, at the end, is better acceleration - so, you arrive to the next corner faster, you have more load on the front, so you can brake harder, and the bike becomes more heavy in the change of direction, so you need more power. I think more these are the difference of the aerodynamics, more than the riding style.
“Everybody has his own style and I see a lot of riders that are very fast also if they have a more normal position on the bike - like Jack Miller or Franky [Morbidelli]. Physically, now is more difficult - especially as the bike has now become more demanding, because they are faster, you have the aerodynamics, and you can brake deeper, you can squeeze the bike more, so is not only the position but in general, is more difficult, physically,” he concluded.