Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi blamed his poor qualifying performance on a wrong strategy after the Italian qualified in twelfth place at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.
Two crashes in Friday free practice left the Italian needing to get off to a quick start and he did just that, ending FP3 inside the top five, guiding himself directly into Q2 and giving himself a strong chance of a good starting position.
Unfortunately for Rossi, he couldn’t capitalise on this, never looking competitive in the fifteen-minute session and eventually ending the session in twelfth, last of the riders taking part in the session.
Rossi said that it was a mixed day after the impressive FP3 was followed up by the awful qualifying performance.
“It’s a mixed day,” began the 40-year-old.
“This morning FP3 was good, the conditions were not fantastic because was it very, very cold but I was able to do a good lap at the end, finish in P4 and was straight into Q2, which was our target.
“Then in qualifying I’m not very happy, because we didn’t work well. We didn’t make the right strategy. I was in the track with the second tyre in the wrong moment and unfortunately, I was not able to improve, because I had too much traffic. Our potential for sure was better.”
Rossi was then asked about what went wrong with the strategy. He explained that he ended up behind Pol Epsargaro on a used tyre, so couldn’t benefit from a slipstream from a fast rider.
“I was also unlucky because unfortunately I follow Pol Espargaro, who was in the track with a used tyre,” he said.
“But anyway, looks like we are not fantastic on strategy. So, we need to improve next year, we need to try to work in another way. Too bad, because without mistakes like this, I could have been one or two rows ahead, and it would have been another race.””