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Rossi: “I’ve been racing for many years and this is the first time I’ve done 53, it means I’m there”

Mar 12, 21 | 10:45 AM
Petronas SRT
Belén Lázaro Hernández editor – Life is Racing

"You live more for five minutes going fast on a bike than other people do in all of their life." MS58

Valentino Rossi set his personal best lap in Qatar by finishing the day eighth with a time of 1:53:993.

Fourth day of testing in Qatar and Valentino Rossi is not taking the smile off his face. ‘Il Dottore’ finished the day eighth just seven tenths off the best but, for him, the most important thing was that he went under 1:54. Rossi’s lap in Qatar is the fastest recorded in his entire career, undoubtedly continuing to demonstrate his good form. However, it’s not all nice things because Rossi considers that there are many new things to try, such as a new mudguard.

Improving day by day: “We have found new solutions on the bike and we have improved. I did a good ‘time attack’ at the time and managed to do a lap in 1.53. Everyone is very fast, but we managed to make a good step forward and I improved my pace a lot by doing several 1.54s. The set-up from the first test is better and the changes in the front end make me enter the corners better. I also have more grip under acceleration”.

A different situation from the first day

Historic personal best for Valentino Rossi: “It’s not a given, I’ve been racing for many years and to do 53 for the first time is a great satisfaction. It means I’m riding well and I’m there.” At 42 there is always room for improvement, even if “old age” is a bit “felt”. “You have to train a lot more to make a respectable physical performance on a MotoGP. Compared to before, maybe I struggle more after training, climbing stairs becomes difficult (laughs). Not much has changed from a physiological point of view: I used to go to the bathroom a lot earlier (laughs again). Other than that, the hardest thing is recovery”.

Work method: “It hasn’t changed, I get along very well with David (Muñoz), he is technically prepared. I concentrate more on driving and try to give my opinion, then he does it. I like the work methodology and the atmosphere in the team.” Valentino continues: “We work like other days. In the other test, the setting and weight balance in the rear were different because I wanted to ride harder, but it didn’t work. This time, however, I was more competitive. The steps forward are important, they give pleasure and motivation”.

Productivity in the first tests of the year

Rossi’s room for improvement is mainly in top speed: “I can get more and more out of my potential. In 2020 we suffered, the bike was difficult to turn but now it’s better. I can ride better: that’s why we are faster both in pace and lap time. The engines are frozen and we were worried about our top speed.I pushed hard with Yamaha on this, but it’s not just the engine that makes the performance on the straights”.

Petronas SRT

Yamaha testing new materials: “There are other factors like aerodynamics. We still pay 10k from Ducati, but the gap is smaller and it’s important, especially on fast tracks. The bike becomes more difficult to handle. The cooling also needed to improve, but I don’t like it. Great sign, all the riders are in good shape.However, we will have to wait for the race, when we are all together we will understand how it will be”.

How are their rivals: “Maverick (Viñales) looks strong, but Quartararo too. There are many fast riders like Franco (Morbidelli), the Ducati of Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia and the Suzuki with Joan Mir and Alex Rins.” Rossi works to be with them: “Tomorrow we will work on race pace, I’m not far from the top. Last year we raced at 50 degrees at Jerez or in winter at Le Mans.I hope we can run on more tracks and not more than one race on the same track, except here in Qatar”.

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