Threatening rain required "big balls" – Rossi

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Threatening rain required
By: Andrew van Leeuwen
Oct 27, 2018, 9:23 AM

Spitting rain throughout today's MotoGP qualifying session meant lap speed was dependent on 'big balls', according to Valentino Rossi.

The heavens threatened to open right as this afternoon's Q2 session went green, a short burst of rain seeding doubt in riders minds regarding both tyre choice and grip levels.

While heavier rain never arrived, ongoing spitting made it difficult for riders to trust whether the track was fully dry in the middle part of the quick Phillip Island turns.

Rossi, who ended up seventh, was quick to admit that he struggled with the conditions, highlighting bravery as a key factor.

"It rained a little bit, you don't understand how much, and you had to go with the slick anyway and push 100 per cent," he said.

"It wasn't easy. It's not my best conditions usually.

"It was a big risk. You had to be very, very brave. You go very fast and here at Phillip Island you never know how much rain [there is]. You have to enter [the corner] on the slick, and you don't know if it's dry or wet.

"You needed to be very brave, to have very big balls."

Jack Miller, who was the best Ducati in sixth, said Turn 12 was the trickiest part of the lap when the conditions were mixed.

"It was scary, heart-in-mouth, putting your stuff on the table and see-what-you-got," he said.

"I can tell you, going through the Hayshed with the bike shaking a little bit because it’s slick coming out of [Turns] six, seven, the bike starts shaking and you’ve gotta go through the next corner with some really high speeds… it gets the heart pumping, that’s for sure.

"You have to grit your teeth and get into it.

"Turn 12 was the worst one. I was on a good lap, I think it was my best lap, and just as I went in full angle and cracked the gas back on. It was a little bit slicker than I expected and had to hold her up on the elbow for a good while, the leg came off and everything."

The fast Island circuit has already seen one rider seriously injured this weekend, Cal Crutchlow set to miss the remainder of the season after his nasty Turn 1 shunt on Friday.

Andrea Dovizioso hinted that Crutchlow's crash added to the mind games during qualifying.

"It was very easy to make a mistake [in qualifying]," said the Ducati rider, who qualified way back in ninth.

"There was a light rain in every corner but the asphalt stayed dry, but you can't know in the next corner if it is dry enough.

"You can look the [rain] flag, but if people have the flag, they decide. The risk, it was too much for me to really push like this.

"Unfortunately as you see, a lot of riders get hurt [at Phillip Island]. This track when you crash it is easier to get hurt because you are going very fast.

"It was difficult not to think about that in qualifying."

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