MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi says his front row starting position puts him ideally placed to stalk title rival and poleman Jorge Lorenzo in Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano.
Yamaha's Lorenzo scorched to pole on Saturday, despite complaining that Rossi held him up on his final run, and starts ahead of Honda’s Marc Marquez and Rossi.
“Jorge started strong and he’s the guy to beat, the guy with the best pace,” said Rossi. “It’s very important to start from the front row, because he’ll be fast from the first corner, not just the first lap.
“Marc always has the right rhythm from the beginning, so it will be crucial in the first laps to stay with them. I expect them to do the maximum from the first corner, and then we can see what happens, see if I’m close.
“So if I wanna try to fight with them, we have to start well and stay close from the beginning. After that, my pace is quite good.
“We still have some problems, especially in the faster parts – we hope we can improve a little bit. Today for me was a good day, because we improved the settings and the pace, and I hope we can do something better.”
Helmet designed explained
Rossi is wearing a special helmet design this weekend, which features a caricature of a yellow fish (Rossi) being chased by a huge shark.
He denied the shark represented Lorenzo, and claimed: “I am the small fish in front trying to escape, and the big shark is all my rivals – Jorge, Marc, Dani [Pedrosa] and also the Ducatis. All the people that want to try and beat me tomorrow at my home Grand Prix.”
Rossi is 12 points ahead of Lorenzo going into Sunday's race.