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MotoGP Le Mans: Last corner moment denied Rossi attempt at pole

Petronas’ Valentino Rossi looked on form as he challenged for MotoGP pole this afternoon before the damp Le Mans track caught him out at the last corner.

After gambling on slick tyres from the outset of Q2, where frenetically changeable weather conditions played their part in the day’s proceedings, Rossi was on target for provisional pole in the opening laps before losing time in the final sector. Hitting a patch of damp asphalt at the final corner the Italian was lucky to recover his Yamaha M1, admitting the difference of just five or ten centimetres cost him the impressive lap.

The Doctor’s final time - a 1’33.391 set on his ninth attempt - will see him line up on the third row, in ninth, for tomorrow’s race.


“We did the right strategy going with the slick tyre in qualifying and it gave us a small advantage. Unfortunately, on the second lap I hit wet patches on the last corner and I was very close to a crash - there was a big moment but I was able to recover. This made me lose some feeling in sector four, and then in the last lap I was a bit too conservative - if not maybe I could do a bit better, because in that first moment I was stronger, I had the red helmets and I was fast.

“This weekend though we have improved the pace, and the feeling, compared to the first few races. This morning on the wet we had some problem, I was not very fast, but looks like all the Yamaha’s struggled. We have some issue in acceleration, it looks like the other bikes are able to accelerate faster from the corner, but yesterday I was good. Yesterday I was fast on the wet - the position was not fantastic because I didn’t put a new tyre at the end but my pace was not so bad - today we have more problem and we don’t understand very well why.

“We will see tomorrow what happens because the weather is really unpredictable. The race is about 42 minutes long and in that time today it changed from wet to dry three times, this will make it very difficult. Personally I would prefer it to be a dry race, because this is where I feel more comfortable. Starting from the third row we have to try to have the best race possible.”

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