Rossi: No Vinales orders… yet

Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi says he hasn’t yet been asked to assist Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales in the MotoGP title race.

Reigning champion Marc Marquez of Honda currently holds a 16-point advantage over Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, with Vinales 28 points behind with four rounds remaining.

Asked if he has been requested to give Vinales extra room in the title fight, Rossi said: “At this moment, no. Usually Yamaha don’t do [that], but it depends very much from the championship.

“If it will be very, very close, maybe is possible.”

Rossi admitted it was an interesting situation that the leading trio all have very strong and capable team-mates – Rossi at Yamaha, Dani Pedrosa at Honda and Jorge Lorenzo at Ducati.

“It is an interesting situation because all the three factories have the second rider that is fast and maybe can help the first rider for the championship,” Rossi said. “So we will see!”

Commenting on the fractured right tibia and fibula he suffered earlier in the season, Rossi said he was doing much better.

“My leg is for sure a lot better. I’ve had this extra week, which was very important because after Aragon I suffer a bit,” he said. “The leg now is a lot better, still some pain but for me on the bike I suppose I can ride. Because anyway the leg is better than Aragon. I’m not 100% for sure, also about the training because I have to modify a bit. But I feel good. Not so bad.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s Japanese MotoGP and the forecast of rain, Rossi said he was hoping for good weather.

“If it is wet it will be a great shame because on this track I think we can be competitive in the dry. Last year I was very competitive in the wet, this year not a lot, so I hope for the dry,” he said.

“[Our problems in the wet] are the same as the dry. After some laps the rear tyre start to lose a lot of grip. Full wet is not so bad, but if not a lot of water we suffer. So we need to understand because last year we were very strong.”