Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi qualified a disappointing 19th for his home ItalianGP at Mugello on Saturday.
Despite making improvements to his Petronas M1’s feeling and pace, the veteran Italian remained at the back of the standings throughout the second day of practice before confirming his place on the seventh row of Sunday’s grid.
Like the rest of the MotoGP paddock, however, the 42-year-old’s first thoughts were directed towards Jason Dupasquier, after the PruestelGP rider’s accident at the close of Moto3 qualifying.
“The crash in Moto3 is the most important thing today, a lot more than the practice” said Rossi.
“Is always very difficult when you see this image and after you have to go on the track, is not easy to find the right concentration, I think it’s not easy for anybody. Unfortunately, this is the most dangerous thing in the motorcycle races, because the Dupasquier crash, one or maybe two riders hit from behind, so I hope that he can be good, the condition can be not very bad. I hope for Dupasquier that we can hear some good news in the next hours.”
Continuing to discuss his own Saturday at Mugello, Rossi admitted, “It's a difficult day, because I'm not fast enough.
“I improved the feeling with the bike and I improved my pace. This morning I did a quite good hot-lap, I was just 0.9s from the first position. The problem is that now everyone in MotoGP is very fast and the times are very close, so with the 0.9s and with the ’46.3 - that is already a very strong time for Mugello - you are P18, so difficult!
“In the afternoon we try to improve something but unfortunately I don't like a lot the modifications, so we come back. My pace, I can go quite constant but I'm not fast enough and it’s a disaster, for sure. We have to try for some tenths to stay with the group in front, and we will see, we will try.
“The result is crucial for any type of sport, you know. We are here to win, we are here to try to stay in front and when you don't have the results, like us, in this moment, is difficult. Everything is difficult, because, for sure you don't enjoy, Everything is harder because you have to give the maximum, to work a lot also at home, to risk, but like this with no result, you don't enjoy, so everything is more heavy.
“I expected that I would have to suffer in Mugello a little bit because already in 2019, the weekend for me was difficult but anyway, we have to try and we try to improve, and we see, but for sure when you don't have the result, everything is more difficult.”
Lightening the mood, Rossi’s thoughts turned to his special helmet design ahead of the ItalianGP, with the veteran explaining the idea.
“We decide the week before Mugello if we want to make something stupid, something that make people laugh. Usually, I prefer always this, because I think that the helmet has to be funny for the fans, to make them laugh. We think of the cow because in Italian, the cow, the noise of the cow is Muuuu. So Muuuuu...gello, and we had this idea, and we follow this and I think that this is funny."