Valentino Rossi called great rival and MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez not only fast, but also smart, as the Spaniard followed the Monster Energy factory Yamaha man around on his best lap in qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Enjoying a much stronger weekend that last time out in Mugello, Rossi qualified at the head of the second row in fourth place, after his team-mates post qualifying penalty. On Rossi’s fastest lap, he dragged Marquez around, with the Spaniard qualifying on the middle of the front row.
Rossi complimented the World Champion on his tactic, leaving you with little choice when you realise he has latched on behind.
“Marc is not just fast, but also smart,” said the nine-times World Champion.
“He knows who to follow, he studies his rivals and calculates every move. When you find him behind you in qualifying, he gives you no choice. Either you continue with him in your slipstream, or you lose your lap.
“I decided to carry out and it was the right decision.”
When asked what Rossi thought about Marquez’ tactic of following his rivals in qualifying, he said: “Perhaps he doesn’t have enough experience and needs to learn the lines.
“Joking aside, he’s smart like I said; he tries to find your weak points, your strong points too. We’re all close in qualifying, so it’s a fight to the death, and a tow can give you those few tenths that make the difference between the first and third row.”
As for his race, the pace of the all the Yamaha’s going into the tomorrow’s race buoyed Rossi. He did however curb that enthusiasm, noting that he is struggling with the higher track temperatures, as are all the riders.
“Seeing all the Yamahas competitive is great news for us,” he said.
“Today was a good day, I was able to be quick and maintain a good pace. It was easier this morning in cooler temperatures, we suffered a little more this afternoon but the same goes for everyone.
“The race is all that counts in the end. We knew the Yamaha could be quick in practice. We usually suffer with the heat, but this weekend that goes for everyone.
“I hope for a group race with some changes in pace, because it’s less tiring and more fun.”