Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi arrived in Catalunya after two “very bad” races where he struggled with front-end feel and hopeful of turning around a season in which he’s being overshadowed by his teammate Jorge Lorenzo.Rossi finished second to Lorenzo’s third in the Qatar GP season-opener before beating beaten by Lorenzo in Japan. Then came Rossi’s lone victory to date, in Jerez, where Lorenzo crashed out. Lorenzo followed it with his second win, in France, and a second to Rossi’s third in Mugello.”Le Mans was very bad and Mugello was a lot better because I still arrived on the podium which is important for the championship,” Rossi said. “We try to understand, because from the beginning of the season I’m not fast like last year and I don’t feel confident on the bike like in 2008. We’re not at the maximum so this race is so important to understand to try and fix our problems and improve our performance.”The difficulty is easily put: “I don’t feel the front. I have a big problem and last year this was one of my big positive points. This year I don’t have 100 per cent feeling, so I’m not able to ride like I want. I always have a problem with the front tire. In Mugello, that’s a track I know very well and it was very clear from the bike that I was slower than last year.”The Montmelo circuit is similar in many ways to Mugello, with long straights, hard braking, and long, constant radius corners. What didn’t work at Mugello likely won’t work in Spain. And if they don’t figure it out by race time, they’ll spend Monday looking for a solution for the next race in Assen in less than two weeks time.”The test on Monday will be crucial for the next races, but we have to use tomorrow and Saturday like a test to fix our problems because we can’t wait until Monday to fix. We have to improve from tomorrow. For Monday we have something different for the electronics but now we have a problem with the setting. We are not at 100 percent.”
Rossi Needs It Better
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.