Rossi happy to be ‘very close’ to Honda duo

Valentino Rossi ended the first day at Le Mans as top Yamaha for the first time this season. The Italian finished both Free Practice sessions in third, behind the Repsol Honda duo of Pedrosa and Marquez. This is testament to Rossi feeling a lot happier with the set up of his bike at the French circuit than he did two weeks ago in Jerez.  

Rossi felt better on the brakes today, compared to Jerez

Photo: YamahaMotoGP

Following the Jerez weekend and official test the following day, Rossi has chosen to stick with the older 2012 version of the M1 chassis, contrary to team mate Jorge Lorenzo, who has opted for the 2013 edition. Rossi spent the day optimising a set up on a soft front/hard rear tyre combination.

It looked like Rossi was going to be second at the end of FP2, but he was barged out of the way in the final minute (not literally) by Marc Marquez. The 9-time World Champion sits just over a tenth off Pedrosa and the top spot. “Today we were good in braking because we modified the settings and we tried two different settings to understand which way to follow to improve the braking, that was the main problem. This morning was not too bad and this afternoon especially I made the comparison one more time. I took the setting I preferred with some small modifications and the last run was very good. I could brake hard, which was the main problem in Austin and also in Jerez so it’s a good day. We try to modify also the rear for to not stress the rear tyre so much; that helped me a lot; I did my best laps with a used tyre that had more than 30 laps on. The practice this afternoon was good so I’m happy. We are already quite good with the setting of the bike so now we wait for the weather tomorrow. In case of rain we are more or less ready and if dry we can try something else, some small details to modify. We are very close to those in front so it’s not so bad.”

Rossi’s team mate, Jorge Lorenzo lies in fourth place after today’s free practice sessions. The reigning world champion was quick out of the blocks as per, but fell victim to fast laps coming in thick and during the last 15 minutes of FP2. 

The Spaniard was clearly having some kind of issue with setup throughout the day. “We are changing the bike to improve the feeling because at the moment we have a lot of margin for improvement. I think we can make a big step to improve the constant pace for the race. I think if it rains tomorrow things will change completely and it will be a different story. We will have to be as always more careful and have more concentration in the wet.”


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