Valentino Rossi's pass on Johann Zarco in the closing stages of yesterday's Qatar MotoGP round was crucial as the Monster Yamaha man believes it enabled him to try and go with Andrea Dovizoso and helped keep the 'wolves' behind him.
In a season opener that saw a train of ten riders capable of the win, Rossi held a watching brief as Johann Zarco led the desert conga but he had to follow Andrea Dovizoso and Marc Marquez through if he had any chance of a podium shout.
“The problem this year is the first 10 riders have a very similar pace so you have to wait until the race to understand if it is enough for the podium. I am also happy because in the last period of the race the fastest riders on the track were Dovizioso and Marquez so we stayed with them until the end and it is a good way to start," said The Doctor, speaking at the track.
“I tried to fight back with Dovi but in that moment all the wolves behind were getting on me! With Petrucci we entered one corner maybe 20kph too fast and I tried not to lose too much but I know that I had the pace so I didn’t want to lose too much time. Without that mistake, could I have fought with them more? Possibly, yes, but I don’t know if I was able to win.
“I’m happy because when Dovi went in front I know they are able to change the rhythm and for me to make the podium it was key to overtake Zarco and give the maximum to try to go with them. I had some points on the track where I was fast and to arrive at the end of the race on the podium is a great way to start.”