Valentino Rossi admits he has work to do in order to secure an automatic spot in Qualifying 2 after a difficult first day in Qatar. The Italian was ninth quickest but didn’t feel comfortable on his YZR-M1 at any stage and added that the damage his set-up was doing to the rear tyre was also a worry.
“It was quite difficult because I wasn‘t fast enough and I‘m just in the ninth position. We tried something different than what we did during the test, but unfortunately it was bad for the rear tyre. I already damaged the rear tyre after five or six laps and the bike moved around a lot. We also weren‘t fast enough during the second part of the practice, but we‘ll take the data and now we have to try to understand how to improve. Unfortunately there was just one practice today, so we have to work on the data and try to modify the setting. We will wait for tomorrow to see if we are able to go faster. I have a problem with the rear tyre, which is very soft. There‘s a lack of grip that we have to fix and I have to improve my pace. I want to try to stay under the 1‘55 tomorrow and finish in the top ten for Saturday‘s qualifying session.”
Movistar Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo made a brighter start, finishing FP1 in fourth spot, but expects the track evolution later in the weekend to play into his hands.
“Everybody has been quite fast on these new tyres, even if the track wasn‘t perfect. Moto2 almost broke a record, I think, but in MotoGP we need a little bit more grip. The track is dusty, so it looks like the bike is a bit flowy everywhere. It‘s difficult to have confidence but I think today our side has done a quite good job from the beginning. When I feel great on the bike, which wasn‘t on the last run, I feel great. To be honest, I hope to be much faster tomorrow. We are still a second from my best lap time from last year. We have a margin, but for a first practice, knowing the track is not perfect, this is not a bad start.”