Valentino Rossi has hinted tomorrow could be a bit of struggle, but admitted he is pleased to be starting the last MotoGP race of the season from the front row.
The Doctor qualified third at Valencia behind his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, but knows he will have to fight very hard if he is to beat either of the Spaniards at home.
After a tough day yesterday, the Italian was happy to note some improvement to the problems which had plagued second free practice, and was relieved to secure the final front row spot after today’s session.
At a track which he’s never really liked, he knows he has his work cut out tomorrow.
“Yesterday was a difficult day and this morning we improved the balance of the bike, but I wasn’t strong enough anyway,” he revealed.
“In the afternoon we did another small improvement and I feel good. I was quite strong with both tyres. I wanted to try and make 1’29 but I wasn’t able, but the front row is good, also because in Valencia it is difficult to overtake, so starting from there is important.
“To stay on the front row is always a good feeling, is always important, this time also more because I struggle always a bit too much in this track.
With just tomorrow morning’s warm up left to make any final changes, Rossi says it will be an important little session and one which he hopes they can make all the improvements necessary to be able to match his rivals – which he says includes his soon-to-be team-mate Maverick Vinales.
“We have to work harder to improve some areas, some details because at this moment Lorenzo and Marquez are faster in the pace and also Vinales is very strong – he is stronger than me.
“So If I want to fight for the podium we need to improve a bit and try to be stronger tomorrow, so for this reason it is important to start from the front row and hope to make a good start and try to fight
“For me personally, I want to try to improve the pace, make a good start and try to fight for the podium with Lorenzo, Marquez and also I think Vinales is very strong. I try to fight and try to arrive at the end.”