Rossi blames tyres for Austria troubles

Valentino Rossi blamed his tyres after a poor showing in qualifying left him in seventh place on the grid for Sunday’s MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix.

The Italian will start on the third row, behind teammate Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco of Tech3 Yamaha, and said a problem with his rear tyre used in his second run had affected him after he recorded the fifth fastest time in practice on Saturday morning.

“My potential was to be in the top five for sure, also [possibly] on the front row,” said Rossi.

“From the start [of FP3] we improved the balance of the bike a lot and I felt comfortable, I was always quite competitive.

“With the soft for the qualifying I was quite strong, but unfortunately the second [soft] tyre didn’t work well.

“I had less grip and a lot of spinning. I tried to push at the maximum but it was impossible to improve. Unfortunately sometimes it happens, this time it happened to me.

“I have to start from the third row; that is always quite difficult. But my pace is not so bad, we have to try pushing from the beginning to the end and we’ll see.”

Rossi also talked about why he used a new aero fairing in practice and qualifying at Austria after previously saying he wouldn’t.

“This is maybe not the best track [for the fairing], but yesterday we had a lot of wheelie issues so we decided to test it, because it could help control the wheelie,” he said.

The 38-year old, who has also been fighting flu-like symptoms since Friday, said he was also likely to go with it for the race.

“In fact it’s good to ride, it helps me. So I think we will we use it [in the race].”