Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi explained that the laps on wet tyres in FP4 helped him make the decision to gamble on slick tyres in Q1, helping him progress into Q2 and subsequently qualifying in the middle of the second row at Le Mans.
The Italian was one of a number of household names who had to navigate the tricky fifteen-minute session in order to have a shot at pole position. Rossi was the first rider to gamble on slick tyres and after initially starting slower, the Italian built up and ended up finishing fastest in the session by over a second and a half.
When explaining how he made the decision, Rossi pointed to the laps he did in FP4 and how they helped him determine where the crossover point was.
“First of all, this year we work a little bit on the mixed situations,” explained the nine-times World Champion.
“In Austin I felt more comfortable with the bike, but we improved the setting and the electronics. Usually in these conditions we suffer very much.
“Also I make the FP4 with the wet tyres, and I was good because on the wet. I feel good, but we arrive at the limit, it was like, you cannot go faster than this. Here the asphalt is good, not a lot of water, we see the water always stay around us, not straight on, so we decide to risk, and it paid off.
“I’m happy because it was the right choice and also important for go into the Q2.“
Rossi attempted the gamble once again in Q2, but unfortunately for the Italian, the track was too wet and the gamble didn’t pay off a second time.
“We try another time also in Q2, because I know that maybe if I’m able to make two laps, maybe you can make the pole position,” he explained.
“But unfortunately already there was too much water. So I stop and it’s okay, I’m happy about the fifth place.”
Not too concerned if the race is wet or dry tomorrow, Rossi is confident with his pace in both the wet and the dry conditions.
“I have a good pace in case we have a wet race tomorrow,” he said.
“In the dry I wasn’t very strong yesterday. We have to try some setting modifications, but today we didn’t have time for that, so we have to wait to see what the conditions will be like tomorrow.”