After what looked to be the best chance for nine times world champion Valentino Rossi to end his thirty-nine race-long win drought, The Doctor and his Monster Energy M1 Yamaha were once again met by rear grip issues at the 2019 Go Pro British Grand Prix which halted the Italian in the twenty lap race on Sunday.
From Free Practice one, both Valentino Rossi and his bike looked comfortable around the newly resurfaced 3.6-mile circuit, featuring inside the top five as ‘The Doctor’ began his weekends work.
Rossi continued his form into Free Practice two, a time where usually the hotter temperatures halt the Tavullia legend, but set the fourth-fastest time, after getting his fastest lap reinstated after race direction took away the lap for extending track limits on the exit of Chapel.
The forty-year-old continued his form into Saturday morning, putting his M1 Yamaha at the top of the timesheets, up until Petronas Yamaha‘s Fabio Quartararo took the limelight.
In Free Practice four, the race pace from Valentino Rossi looked similar to those of championship leader Marc Marquez and Fabio Quartararo, giving the Monster Energy team a buzz ahead of Qualifying.
Rossi’s qualifying didn’t go to plan, setting a ‘banker’ lap at the start of Q2 before getting his second lap taken off him. Rossi returned to the track for one flying lap and jumped from twelfth to second position, giving Rossi his first front-row since the American round in April.
Starting from second, Rossi maintained his position into Copse on the opening lap, where we lost Andrea Dovizioso and Fabio Quartararo from the race.
Rossi tried to stay with Marquez but was eventually passed by the Suzuki Ecstar bike of Alex Rins, and immediately lost touch with the Spaniards. Rossi was then having to look behind him, managing the rear tyre whilst being caught by teammate Maverick Vinales, who eventually stripped Rossi from a podium position on the seventh lap.
In the second half of the race, Rossi was lapping, on average, a second a lap slower than the podium three and started to become under pressure from his academy rider Franco Morbidelli.
Rossi was able to hang on to a “disappointing” fourth position at what was the hottest race of the year so far.
Speaking after the race, Rossi said: “We are not happy; we are a little bit disappointed, we expected to be stronger today to fight for the podium because I started from the front row but in practice, I always had a good pace.
“I know that Marquez was a little bit faster, so I didn’t expect his battle with Rins, I wanted to make my race like Maverick as our pace in practice was very similar,” said the Yamaha rider.
“But today, unfortunately, I was more in trouble with the rear grip and rear tyre. Already from the beginning, my pace was not fantastic and I was not strong enough, not fast enough to stay with the top three.
“Also in the second half of the race, I had to slow down a lot because the tyre damaged a lot so it was a difficult race because we arrived more optimistic about being stronger but in the end, we suffered a bit too much” The Doctor concluded.
Rossi was not the only rider to suffer from the rear tyre, as both Jack Miller and homeboy Cal Crutchlow were also stopped by rear tyre troubles.
Valentino Rossi will be back out on track for a two-day test at Misano ahead of his home Grand Prix in two weeks time, 6-8 October.