Monster Energy Factory Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi admitted that he expected to be fastest after a disastrous Saturday which saw the nine-times World Champion qualifying down in eighteenth position for his home Grand Prix in Mugello.
The Italian came into Saturday outside the top ten looking in and after a mistake late in FP3 cost him a spot directly into Q1, it was all downhill since. Rossi described the moment at the end of FP3 as a key moment, as he then went into Q1 and could only post the eighth fastest time, leaving him starting tomorrow’s 23 lap race down on the outside of the sixth row.
“I expected to be stronger, last year was a good weekend for us and we improved in some areas but we’re struggling very much from yesterday,” said ‘the Doctor’.
“Today we took a good step and in the FP3 I was pretty fast. I was quite happy and the strategy of this morning was right. In the last lap I was doing a time that would allow me to enter Q2 directly, which was our goal of course.
“Unfortunately from Biondetti to Bucine [final two corners] I moved a lot and I arrived at the last braking without brakes. The lever touched the handlebar, and then I ended up wide. This was the key moment for us today because after on Q1 we have a lot of fast riders, especially Dovizioso and Pirro.
“I tried, but already in the afternoon in FP4 I was more in trouble so I was not very strong. I know it is difficult in Q1, after we wait, because I need one slipstream but in the end, I have to start very much on the back.”
As for what it does to his race chances, the Italian said: “In tomorrow’s warm up it will be very interesting to try to find something better. After that, the race will be hard, because I will start far towards the back and my pace is not fantastic. We need to stay concentrated, give the maximum, and try to take some points.”