MotoGP Motegi: Rossi expecting open race in Japan

Valentino Rossi has said he is expecting a very open MotoGP race tomorrow in Motegi as he starts from down in ninth place on the grid.

The Movistar Yamaha rider was cautiously optimistic that he could carry the newfound speed from Thailand over to Motegi as he and factory Yamaha team-mate still search for Yamaha’s first win of 2018.

Rossi points towards the hard Michelin tyres that he was able to use in Buriram a fortnight ago as the key for his pace rather than huge steps forward from his Yamaha team. Despite that, the Italian said he has consistent pace for what he predicts will be an open race tomorrow.

“It looks like this weekend we are more similar to the other races from the second half of the season,” said the nine-times World Champion.

“It’s also true that we can do a good race because there are a lot of riders with similar pace. It will be very important to work tonight to improve in some places, because my pace is not fantastic, but it’s constant. I can go to the end of the race.

“The start, first lap and tyre choice will all be important, but looks like tomorrow it will be a very open race. To win? That’s difficult. Maybe podium, top five, but we try.”

Rossi also revealed to that a small mistake in relation to the rear tyre pressure with his second tyre prevented him from qualifying further up the grid.

“I could have done better in qualifying, but we made a mistake in the box with the rear tyre,” explained the 39-year-old.

“I didn’t have any grip, so I didn’t try on the second run. If that hadn’t happened, I think I could have started from the second row.”

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