Valentino Rossi acknowledges that he needs to improve his qualifying performances if he is to have any chance of retaining his championship lead this weekend at Assen. The Movistar Yamaha rider has qualified on the third row five times in seven races this season and although he has a good record at Assen, Rossi admits he cannot allow Jorge Lorenzo another head start on Saturday.
“Assen will be another very intense weekend. After seven races the difference between me and Jorge is just one point and to keep the first place I have to finish in front of him. It won‘t be easy because Jorge is in a great shape, but so am I. I’m very happy about the last race in Barcelona, the victory was very close. Jorge‘s and my potential are very similar. I like Assen, it‘s a nice circuit. I did some good races there in the past and usually our bike is working really well, so it will be another important race. I’m sure our rivals will do everything they can to fight for the victory and we have to keep our eyes out for them. First we must improve our qualifying and we will work on making a better start to the race in Assen.”
Lorenzo arrives in the Netherlands aiming for a fifth consecutive victory although he expects Rossi, as well as the elements, to make his life much more difficult this time.
“Assen is maybe one of my two or three favourite tracks. I have good feelings there and also a few bad memories. Overall it‘s a place I love to race at. First of all because it is a track especially designed for motorbikes so the layout is amazing. The circuit is so fast and I love some of the high-speed corners there. I arrive in a very good shape after achieving four wins in a row and I look forward to racing in Assen! The last race in Barcelona was very tight at the end and Vale showed that he is also in a great shape. The bike is performing really well and I think Assen will suit us perfectly, but you never know. The forecast in Holland is always unpredictable so we need to wait and see if it‘s going to rain as usual or not.”