Rossi confident of better race pace

Sat, 14 Jul 19:30:21 2012

Valentino Rossi is confident he will be much stronger in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix than he was in Mugello qualifying, where he struggled with Bridgestone's soft tyre and only managed 10th on the grid for his home race.

The seven-time MotoGP champion's result was particularly frustrating given that fellow Ducati riders Hector Barbera and Nicky Hayden qualified third and fourth respectively, with Pramac rider Barbera a full second quicker than works team leader Rossi.

The Italian put the deficit down to the other Ducati men getting better pace from the Bridgestone softs, and remained adamant that he would be rapid on the hard tyres in the race.

"It didn't go very well, which is a shame," said Rossi, who won every Mugello MotoGP race from 2002 to '08. "The biggest problem was that I didn't improve at all with the soft tyre, while the others lowered their times a lot.

"It's too bad because we're not so far off with the hard tyre. With the soft, I had a lot of chatter, to the point that I couldn't take advantage of it. Anyway, the hard tyre is what will be used in the race, so we could go a little better.

"Of course I'll have to start 10th, from the fourth row, so I'll have to make some passes. We're pretty fast in the first part of the track, but we lose a lot in T4. We'll see what we can do."

Hayden, who was concerned about his tyre wear rate on the hards, also expects Rossi to move forward quickly on Sunday, saying: "I'm sure he's not going to finish where he qualified."

The American reckons he could have done slightly better than his fourth place.

"My goal was to do a mid-1m47s and be top five, and I accomplished that. But I saw only the front row was in front of me and the bike felt pretty good, and if I'd put one really good lap down with everything perfect, I certainly had the potential today, if I had clear traffic... I really didn't have any issues why I couldn't get on the front row," said Hayden.

"But nonetheless, a pretty positive session for us. Tomorrow's where it counts, so let's see how warm-up goes and then try to get my best result of the year."


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