Factory Yamaha Monster Energy MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi’s quick thinking helped him keep oil off the track, after an engine blew on the Italian during free practice two for the Czech Grand Prix at Brno.
The Doctor was sat fifth when spoke started pouring out the back of his YZR-M1. Thankfully for Rossi, he managed to nurse his Yamaha back to the bike to the pits, where he was able to jump on his second bike and maintain his position in the top ten in a provisional Q2 spot.
Rossi confirmed that he had indeed lost the engine, although confirmed it was an old engine. When asked what happened with his bike in FP2, he said: “I was able to pull the clutch before the engine completely broke and that allowed me to continue. I checked that the bike wasn’t losing oil and remained off line anyway.
“Back at the garage, neither my boots nor the rear tyre were dirty, we were able to put that same tyre on the second bike actually.”
He continued, “it’s important because the forecast for tomorrow morning is not fantastic. At the end we try with one soft tyre and I am in the top ten.
“We need to work on the bike, especially because it’s difficult to keep a good pace after some laps, the tyre slides, so we need to work. But to stay in the top ten is quite good and already the feeling with the bike from the first day is quite positive.”
The opening day suggests that tyres and tyre choices may play a big part in the weekend. Rossi said that all rear tyres face a significant drop off after just three to four laps.
“We tried new tyres,” he said. “The pace is not too bad, but we need to work a lot. I think this will be the key to make a good race. The first contact was quite good.
“The bigger drop for everybody is the rear tyre, as all the specs have a big drop. This will be the key on Sunday, to try and be fast, but also to try and not stress the rear tyre because after three or four laps there is already a big drop.”