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MotoGP Sepang: Rossi relieved qualifying went ahead

Factory Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi said that he was extremely relieved that qualifying went ahead, allowing him to qualify on the front row of the grid in Sepang.

The Italian feared he would be forced to start from the third row of the grid when a monsoon storm came and rained down on the Sepang International Circuit during Q1.

With rain showing no sign of relenting, there were fears that the qualifying session would be cancelled and grid positions would be assigned from combined free practice times.


Thankfully for the Italian, the rain did relent and the qualifying session went ahead. Qualifying in third and further moved up to second following Marc Marquez’ penalty for slowing down Andrea Iannone, Rossi was delighted to get back on track and improve his starting position.

“At one point in the box we think that maybe no qualifying because the forecast had said rain very hard till eighth o’clock,” said the 39-year-old.

“So if you see the combined free practice times I am ninth, so would have to start from the third row. So it’s a lot better from the front because it’s very important for the race.

“Also I feel good with the bike, on the wet I can arrive in a good way which is not so bad.”

Rossi had said during the rain delay that he thinks the MotoGP race should’ve been moved forwards from 15:00 to 14:00 in a bid to avoid the forecast rain for tomorrow. Almost as if Race Direction had heard what Rossi had said, the decision was made to move all of tomorrow’s races forwards by two hours. Something the Italian approves of.

“But now we need to wait for the conditions because for me, it’s a clever choice to make the race a one o’clock because we will have more chance for a dry race, but also to race,” he said.

“Because maybe if we wait till three o’clock, maybe we don’t race. So this is good.

“On the dry I am not so bad, especially Friday I was strong. Today I worked more with the used tyre and my pace was quite good, but especially Marquez and Vinales were more strong than me, so we need to work and try to see if we can improve for tomorrow.”

Rossi said that he hasn’t had a chance to test the 2018 M1 extensively in the wet, but said that the first impressions he got were good.

“Last year for us with the 2017 bike was a nightmare in the wet,” he said. We always woke up in the morning and opened the windows slowly, scared it would be wet. This bike is a lot better, you can feel. It hasn’t rained a lot this year, so we don’t know but the first impression is good.”

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