Marc Marquez continued his dominant season with another pole position, but Valentino Rossi may have been the happiest man at Silverstone.
Valentino Rossi enjoyed his second place in qualifying for the British Grand Prix even more because of the criticism he has encountered in 2019.
The MotoGP icon, 40, now hopes to be in the mix with pole-sitter Marc Marquez on race day and end a long absence from the podium.
Rossi finished second in two of the first three races this season but has not returned to the podium since in a stretch of eight grands prix that included three straight retirements.
His poor run of form, and a gap of over two years since his last victory, has led to speculation that Rossi may contemplate retirement, but a fourth-place finish in Austria last time showed signs of life and now the Monster Energy Yamaha star has a higher placing in mind.
Rossi told reporters: “It’s normal at my age and at my point of my career, if I make three very bad races, people start to say ‘He’s old, it’s time to stay at home’, it’s like this.
“For this reason I’m happier [with the result], because I know I can be competitive if I ride well.
“It’s already a good result, but it is important on Sunday to make a good race and fight for the podium. I know I have the motivation and I can be strong, because also I feel good physically.”
— Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP (@YamahaMotoGP) August 24, 2019
“The layout of the track, the radius of the corners are good for our bike, medium-fast,” he said. “For sure the new asphalt with a good grip helps.
“But in the last period Yamaha start to work in the right direction. They start to do clever things, change the situation very much compared to the last two years.
“The bike is better, we accelerate better, the bike is easier to ride in more or less every part of the corner. We are not fast enough on the straight, but on the rest I think we improve in general.
“Here at Silverstone is good for Yamaha but also in Austria we were not so bad.”
— Marc Márquez (@marcmarquez93) August 24, 2019
He lost out to Dovizioso in a dramatic battle in Austria, but still leads the championship by 58 points and his Ducati title rival could only qualify seventh at Silverstone.
Marquez has only won in Britain once but is in a perfect spot to improve that record, while his Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is back from injury but only qualified 21st as he continues to battle pain.
TECHNICAL ISSUE HAMPERS QUARTARARO
The closely matched chasing pack of Rossi, Jack Miller, Fabio Quartararo, Alex Rins, Maverick Vinales and Dovizioso were separated by under two tenths.
Australian Miller claimed his third front row of the season to celebrate his new deal with Pramac Racing, while Quartararo had been quickest in practice but fell short in Q2, later explaining a warning alarm for an unspecified technical problem hampered him.
The French rookie said: “The first row I think yes [was possible], because we are [0.010s behind] and in this lap I made many mistakes.
“From the second sector of my first lap I had an alarm on my dashboard. I decided to finish my lap and then go to the box to check the problem. We had to change the bike and didn’t have time to change the tyre. But we have a good pace and we’ll give everything.”
— Pramac Racing MotoGP (@pramacracing) August 24, 2019
Hopes of a good home result lie with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, but he endured a poor qualifying session, crashing at Stowe while on his final flying lap.
That left him ninth on the grid, his worst Silverstone performance since 2014, with plenty of work to do to do in his 150th race as he looks to bounce back from a retirement in Austria.
“Bit of an amateur mistake to be honest, braked a bit too deep,” Crutchlow said of his crash. “We looked on the data afterwards and I was so close to pulling it down, and if I would have pulled it down, I would have gained a big chunk of time.
“That was why I committed to the corner, because I knew how deep I’d braked, I knew I had to be smoother and not lock the rear, because it would have sent me on anyway, but I committed to it.
“On my actual timed lap I lost three tenths in one corner, that would have put me into the 1:58s. This is the way it is. I can’t complain, I did the mistake myself and that’s it. It’s what happens when you push.”
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
4. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
5. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
9. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
11. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)
2018: No race due to poor weather
2017: Andrea Dovizioso
2016: Maverick Vinales (for Suzuki)
2015: Valentino Rossi
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 230
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 172 (-58)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 136 (-94)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 124 (-106)
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) 103 (-127)
1. Ducati 308
2. Repsol Honda 259 (-49)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 205 (-103)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 163 (-145)
5. Petronas Yamaha 150 (-158)
A dry, hot race is expected at Silverstone on Sunday, much like conditions for qualifying. Temperatures for the race could potentially reach 30 degrees celcius.