Valentino Rossi, from bad to worse

04/06/2021 at 10:47 AM CEST

Valentino rossI arrived in Qatar full of form, with a lot of energy and enormous motivation in his debut with the Petronas Yamaha, after closing his stage in the official team, which decided to bet on youth and the projection of Fabio Quartararo. The Italian’s illusion has faded after the first two races of the season. ‘Il dottore’ started well, with a hopeful fourth place in qualifying for the Qatar GP, but on Sunday he couldn’t finish his job and finished 12th. This weekend things were even tougher: He signed the worst qualy of his life (21st) and finished 16th in the race. In total, only 4 points, which is equivalent to his worst start since 2000, when he dropped out in the first two grands prix in his debut in the premier class (then 500 cc).

At 42, Rossi is tired of defending that he wants to continue in the World Cup, that he feels competitive. A few days ago he answered very angrily to the criticism of a former pilot and ‘friend’, Marco Lucchinelli. The Italian, champion of 500 in 1981, made a controversial statement to the ‘LaPrese’ agency: “Let him leave the bike to a young man. He has not won a race for more than three years and he won the last World Championship in 2009. Okay. He always ran to win, now he does it to finish & rdquor ;. In short, he said what many think. But there are also many who believe that what Valentino does has great merit at his age and are grateful that he continues to challenge young people , trying to give a show, when he could be enjoying his fame and his fortune without having to risk the type in the World Cup. “In the end everyone can have an opinion, although what matters are the results. If I can go fast, everyone will get back in my car. And if I don’t, they’ll keep saying I should have retired years ago, ”says Valentino.

A ‘martyrdom’

Meanwhile , Rossi and its technical team, with David muñoz up front, they are concentrating on finding a way to solve their recurring rear-end grip problems with a view to the European Grand Prix on the calendar, starting April 18 in Portimao. Since his last days at Yamaha, the wear on the rear rubber as the race progresses has prevented him from fighting for prominent positions, which for Valentino is becoming exasperating.

“In the race my pace was not good, but neither was it disastrous. I was hoping we were better, in the warm up we found something that I thought would allow me to be with the group in front. We have to improve the rear grip. I was faster than last week, but it’s not enough & rdquor ;, Rossi summed up on Sunday after the second race in Qatar, who also won his ‘substitute’ at Yamaha, Fabio Quartararo.Jorge Lorenzo, another ‘old friend’ of the ‘Doctor’, former boxing partner at Yamaha and now a YouTube commentator, adds fuel to the fire: “ Rossi has disappointed me as well as the fans. A lot is always expected of Valentino, but to do 21st in practice … He said there was some worse training in his career, but it is difficult to find him. Sunday was out of the points. It’s hard to find a race from him without a crash or engine break out of points. It is the second time that he has been very far from the other Yamaha riders. Hopefully it is a particular occasion. Qatar never did well. There are circuits that are better for you. I don’t know if he will improve in Portimao, which is also difficult for him. But I’m sure in Jerez we’ll see a stronger Rossi“predicts the ’99’, which he hopes to see the ’46’ re-emerge.