Valentino Rossi has admitted that he was “not fast enough” in the two free practice session of the MotoGP season finale in Valencia on Friday.
Rossi’s performance in the first free practice was encouraging as he posted the second-fastest time behind Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
It was a different story in the second session though as Rossi clocked the eighth-fastest, while Lorenzo once again set the pace.
The seven-time MotoGP champion conceded that he struggled with his handling in both free practice sessions, even when using the softer rear tyre.
“FP1 was quite positive, especially at the end,” he said. “I felt very comfortable with the tyres and the bike and in the end I finished in second place.
“We continued in the afternoon but for some reason it was a lot more difficult. Especially the [hard] rear didn’t provide enough grip, enough feel – after a few laps I struggled.
“A lot of other riders had a lack of grip so at the end we put on the soft [rear], and I didn’t feel comfortable with the front.
“I improved my lap time and my pace but it’s not fast enough because I’m not happy with the balance of the bike. I’m not strong enough so we’ve got to work and tried to improve the balance.”
As for Lorenzo, who will be representing Movistar Yamaha for the last time as he agreed to join Ducati next year, he was delighted with his strong start on Friday and hopes to carry his momentum throughout the weekend.
“For the moment we have started the last weekend with Yamaha in the best way possible: first and first,” he said. “Marquez is very strong too and Vinales is very fast as well, it will be very close on Sunday if it’s a dry race, but we are not sure because the weather is uncertain.”