Valentino Rossi (Yamaha / 4th): Realistic podium? / MotoGP

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The 42-year-old Valentino Rossi made it into the Parc Fermé as the best independent team rider at the MotoGP opener in Losail on Saturday. According to the Petronas newcomer, the pace is not yet fantastic.

“I am very happy. It’s great to start the new season with the new team like this, ”said Valentino Rossi, beaming after finishing fourth in qualifying for the Qatar GP, even though Yamaha works rider Maverick Viñales had pushed him out of the front row at the last minute.

«Vale» set his personal best in tow of his model student Pecco Bagnaia, who secured his first MotoGP pole. «We hadn’t discussed each other, we just saw each other on the track. The first time I was in front of him, then the other way around, ”assured the VR46 mentor. “I have to congratulate him: this is the perfect way to start the season with a new team and the factory Ducati.”

Back to his qualifying performance: “With the second set of tires I felt very comfortable with the bike, I had very good grip and the lap was great. I managed to drive and push in a good way without making mistakes, ”said the 42-year-old superstar. “The lap time is pretty impressive at the end, a 1: 53.1 min. That is great, but unfortunately not enough for the front row. But we’re not that far away and starting from position 4 is important for tomorrow’s race. “

Did the Petronas Yamaha newcomer expect to be that far ahead? “During these years I have learned that anything can happen in MotoGP today, from one session to the other. So you should never give up, ”he emphasized.

Is the podium on Sunday a realistic goal? “That is very difficult to say,” sighed the nine-time world champion, who is chasing his 200th podium in the “premier class”. «Today I struggled in FP3 and FP4. We expected it a bit because I was on very used tires. But we also made changes to the bike that weren’t good. It went well in qualifying, but other than that, my pace was not fantastic today. We have to go back and choose a different set-up. We’ll see it tomorrow, but I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen. “

In FP4, Rossi was the only driver, along with his team-mate Morbidelli, who had taken to the track with the hard tire compound. “Yes, I tried the medium-hard combination in FP4 because it is an option for the race,” confirmed the 115-time GP winner. “Because driving the whole race with the soft tires will be very difficult, especially when it’s so hot and the asphalt temperature is very high, even in the evening. We have to wait and see what conditions we will find tomorrow. “

On Sunday, however, squalls in Doha could destroy the joy of the start of the season. «We hope for good conditions because the grip is fantastic. We deserve good conditions for the first race because all the drivers, the people in the paddock and above all the fans are waiting for the first race of the season. ”

Tomorrow the “Dottore” would be happy if …? “If I make it into the top five, it would be a nice race,” said Vale as a goal.

Qatar GP, Q2 MotoGP, March 27th:

1. Bagnaia, Ducati, 1: 52.772 min
2. Quartararo, Yamaha, 1: 53,038 min, + 0.266 sec
3. Viñales, Yamaha, 1:53,088, + 0,316
4.Rossi, Yamaha, 1: 53,114, + 0.342
5. Miller, Ducati, 1:53,215, + 0,443
6. Zarco, Ducati, 1: 53.286, + 0.514
7. Morbidelli, Yamaha, 1: 53.313, + 0.541
8. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, 1: 53.315, + 0.543
9. Rins, Suzuki, 1:53,490, + 0,718
10. Mir, Suzuki, 1: 53.682, + 0.910
11. Nakagami, Honda, 1: 53,721, + 0,949
12. Pol Espargaro, Honda, 1: 53,930, + 1,158

The rest of the starting grid:
13. Bastianini, Ducati, 1: 53.733 min
14. Martin, Ducati, 1: 53,840
15. Oliveira, KTM, 1: 53,915
16. Alex Marquez, Honda, 1: 53,958
17.Bradl, Honda, 1: 53,995
18. Marini, Ducati, 1: 54.122
19. Binder, KTM, 1: 54,240
20. Petrucci, KTM, 1: 54.443
21. Lecuona, KTM, 1: 54,627
22. Savadori, Aprilia, 1: 55,183





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Valentino Rossi Yamaha #4th Realistic podium MotoGP

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