MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi has suggested he will approach qualifying as normal tomorrow, despite knowing he will start from the back of the grid for Sunday’s title-deciding Valencia Grand Prix.
Rossi, whose appeal against his penalty will only be heard after Sunday’s race, said it would be “quite difficult” to use qualifying like extra free practice sessions.
Some in the paddock suggest that his case might be strengthened if he qualifies well up the grid, giving him a greater argument against his demotion should Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo go on to claim the crown on Sunday.
When asked if he was working in a different way during practice today, Rossi replied: “Essentially no – very, very similar.
“I have to say when I arrived I felt more relaxed. Now we have to decide the strategy [for qualifying].
“It will be quite difficult to use the 15 minutes of qualifying like a free practice, because all the other riders may be slowing on the track, waiting for another rider, maybe I can make the normal procedure anyway.”
Happy with practice pace
Rossi, who was on pole here 12 months ago, said he was delighted with Friday’s opening practice sessions.
He said: “I’m quite happy about the first two practices, already my pace was not so bad this morning, also I was quite competitive with the used tyres, which is very important for the race.
“I am also happy about the afternoon, because we tried something different that made me increase my rhythm and improved my laptime, and I used the hard tyres and I was not so bad.
“We made the comparison with the soft, to make the right choice for the race on Sunday.”