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MotoGP Motegi: Polesitter Rossi fears quicker rivals as he battles with sickness

Valentino Rossi has played down his chances of an easy win at Motegi tomorrow, pointing out that not only are his main rivals fast, but that he is still feeling ill.

The Doctor stormed to pole in Japan today while championship leader Marc Marquez messed up his two fast laps, but the Movistar Yamaha rider believes race day may not be quite so easy.

The Italian has been struggling with a severe cold for the last few days and admits that he is far from at full fitness, something he fears may scupper his chances over a full race distance.


And he is also concerned at the pace Marquez and his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo have shown so far this weekend.

“We are quite close but it looks like Jorge and Marc are a little bit faster than me,” he said. “I am close so we need to work well this night and try to fix the details and hope for good weather tomorrow with more temperature.”

Of course, a lot of it will depend on how fit he feels in the morning “I’m not at 100 per cent because when I push a lot of laps I don’t feel at the maximum,” he admitted.

“I’m quite sick and it’s difficult to breathe, so it’s a worry for the race because the race here is very long and very demanding so have to brake hard but I hope that tomorrow I can make another step and try to fight for the victory.”

The 37-year-old believes most of the top 10 has the pace to go well over race distance tomorrow, and refused to be drawn on whether or not he would be able to get a flier at the start and clear off into the distance.

“It’s just Saturday, we need to wait to tomorrow because for sure many things can change,” he added.

“Somebody can improve more than somebody else but as always the first three or four laps of the MotoGP race are always crucial so you have to stay in front from the beginning and try and push at the maximum from the first corner.

“After the first part, the race will be 24 laps so is very long and it looks like with the tyre you can keep a good rhythm, but lap by lap it becomes always a bit more difficult so it depends on which rider can keep the pace to the end.

“In the pace we are very similar, and also Dovizioso with the Ducati is fast. We know that the Ducati is very strong in braking and very fast in the straight. Also Crutchlow made some good lap times.

“The two Suzukis are good because Aleix make a good lap time with the used tyre and also Vinales is fast, so it can be a big fight like Aragon at the beginning and after we will see.”

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