Valentino Rossi faced another difficult start to the second MotoGP race weekend of 2021 after failing to secure a top ten position.
Continuing to struggle with his Petronas M1’s lack of rear grip, the Italian concluded Friday’s two practice sessions 14th in the overall times with a best lap of 1’54.112. Aware of the uphill battle required for qualifying, Rossi’s Saturday plan now looks to be concentrated on race-pace to give the ‘Sunday man’ the best possible chance come race day.
“Was a difficult day for me because we try to improve the life of the tyre and, in effect, we find something better because my pace is more constant but we suffer," said Rossi.
"I’m not fast enough because today I suffer a lot with the rear grip, also in the time attack, and I was not able to make the same lap time of last week.
In the last weekend I was able to make 1’53.8 and it’s a shame because it’s enough for staying in the top ten. Unfortunately, today I was a bit more slow and at this moment I’m out of the Q2 and this is a problem. We have to try tomorrow to find a bit more grip on the rear to try to be stronger.
“I did a good first sector and in the second sector I’m always faster, because it’s good for me and is good for the Yamaha, but after, in the third sector you have a longer left where you need more rear traction. So, we suffer in that place, and is for that reason that this section for me is always the most difficult.
“I think that tomorrow, FP3 is very difficult to improve the run in ‘53 to try for Q2. We need to concentrate on our pace tomorrow. My pace today is more constant but it’s not fast enough. We need to understand the pace of the other guys with the conditions and try to be stronger in the pace because I think that it would be very difficult to go into Q2.”