Rossi: Failed Q1 tow gamble was necessary
Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi says the strategy that consigned him to 17th on the Aragon Grand Prix grid was his only chance at advancing into the pole shoot-out.
Rossi was only fifth, some way off the Q2 transfer spots, after the opening attempts in the first qualifying segment, and started looking around for a rival to follow as he emerged from his pits for his second and final run.
He mistimed his strategy and did not manage another representative lap before the end of the session, ultimately ending up eighth in Q1.
“In the Q1, we make some confusion, I wait a bit too much and I was not able to make the lap,” Rossi explained.
“But anyway also if I make the lap I think I can improve two or three position but unfortunately I don't have the speed for entering the Q2.”
The result translated to 18th overall (17th after Franco Morbidelli's penalty), equalling the seven-time champion's worst-ever qualifying at Assen in 2006, when he was riding with injuries.
Rossi continued: “In reality, I decide to bet everything because I know that to go into Q1, I need a lap behind somebody. And I waited. But unfortunately, we waited too much.”
Yamaha has endured a rotten weekend at Aragon so far, and the Italian admitted his crew was left feeling incapable of turning his fortunes around at the Spanish venue.
Rossi said: “Unfortunately practice by practice we have the feeling, what what we can do in the box during the weekend, our normal work of set-up, doesn't change our problem, because the feeling with the bike remains always difficult, and also the speed doesn't improve.
“For tomorrow, we try to do something else, we try to modify the bike in another way, and we see if we can make a better race and I will try to take some points, I think that this can be the target for tomorrow.”
Factory teammate Maverick Vinales topped Q1 but could do no better than 11th in the pole shoot-out, setting his best time on the initial used-tyre run.
“The laptime in Q2 was with a used tyre, then what I got the new tyre I got a problem with a sensor and I could not finish the lap,” Vinales explained.
“So I think my laptime is not true [reflection], I would have been a bit more in front.”
Vinales then picked up a three-place grid penalty for impeding KTM's Bradley Smith and will start 14th.
Asked about the sanction, he said: “I think what I saw is maybe I disturbed Bradley, rules are rules. It’s like this.”
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
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