Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi has admitted he thinks that reigning MotoGP king Marc Marquez is the man to beat and his race pace is the reference point.
Marquez edged out The Doctor on day one of testing at Phillip Island but Rossi is aware that the Spaniard’s pace is the fastest out there when it comes to a race distance.
“Vinales was very strong in Valencia and Sepang but if you check the times deeply Marquez was faster in Valencia, in Malaysia and today. So I think that he’s the man to beat. On pace he’s always very constant and they work very much for the race with used tyres. I think he’s the reference,” said Rossi, speaking at the track
“He’s making an understatement. You always try to say a little bit less or make it more negative because you always want to be the surprise in Qatar. Seriously, I already know that he’s the fastest.”
Even though Rossi is a master of managing worn tyres, he is a little worried about the Yamaha’s pace at the end of a lon run.
“We started quite badly this morning and suffered a bit too much. I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike and every time I tried to push I didn’t feel good. In the break we checked the data and the team worked well to improve the bike a lot and in the afternoon I was more competitive.
“At the end with the new tyre I did a good lap and second is OK. 1m29.6s for the first day is not so bad. We have a lot of work to do especially for pace with used tyres. We have to work on the bike because first of all we still don’t understand it 100 per cent to find maximum potential.”