Monster Energy factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi said he was happy with the performance of his Michelin rear tyre, despite just missing out on the podium at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
The Italian got a good start from the second row on the grid and found himself at the back end of the leading group in the opening laps. After working his way past Jack Miller, Rossi found his progress halted behind the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso.
Rossi found himself glued to the back wheel of his compatriot for the second half of the race but unable to move past Dovizioso, in part due to the GP19’s vastly superior acceleration and straight-line speeds. ‘The Doctor’ said he enjoyed the battle with Dovizioso and was glad his rear tyre held on enough to allow him to do so, after his rear tyre life has been an issue in recent rounds.
“I had a good start, but then on the first straight some riders overtook me,” said the 40-year-old. “After that I was very competitive.”
“I managed to set the fastest race lap, a new track record, and made several overtakes, until I got close to Dovizioso. Together with Dovizioso we had a good fight. It was very nice. I was a little better in the twisty parts of the track, but Dovizioso was faster on the straights.
“I hoped that I could be quicker on the last laps, but I couldn’t. We are faster in the turns, but it is also true that we stress the tyres more when we are cornering. So, at the end I wasn’t as fast as I was at the beginning, but I’m happy because the degradation was less than usual.”
Rossi said that he is happy with his weekend, explaining that he has learned a few things, even if he is disappointed to miss out on the podium.
“At the end I’m satisfied, because during this weekend I rode well, and I learned a few things,” he said.
“We are making improvements, trying to use all the potential of the M1. At the end I managed to keep off Rins, but I’m very sorry because I didn’t make the podium, then I would have been even happier. Now we will do our best in Valencia.”