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Rossi: Big Qatar MotoGP gains “not enough” to salvage Doha GP weekend

Valentino Rossi says positive set-up changes made ahead of warm-up were ultimately “not enough” to salvage a strong result from the Doha Grand Prix after struggling throughout the event.

Rossi’s first campaign as a Yamaha satellite racer with the Petronas SRT squad started well after qualifying a strong fourth for the season opening Qatar GP, though a lack of speed during the race meant he ultimately slipped to 12th by the end of the encounter, team-mate Franco Morbidelli struggling with an issue meanwhile that meant he could only manage 18th.

The seven-time premier class world champion form failed to improve as the riders and teams returned to the Losail International Circuit for the second straight week, the Italian achieving his worst ever qualifying result in his 25 year career down in 21st.

Rossi said post-race that his feeling with the Yamaha M1 during the 22-lap encounter was a “bit better” relative to qualifying thanks to “finding something” during morning warm-up ahead of the race on Sunday, though this progress was not enough to grant him a higher finishing position than 16th come the end of the contest.  

“Today was a bit better, already this morning we found something that made me ride better so I expected more from the race especially because I started so far back,” said Rossi.

“I was a lot faster than last week but everyone else was much stronger and it was not enough, I think I could’ve stayed in the group in front but I didn’t have enough to catch and it’s very difficult when you start so far behind because all the riders and bikes are so strong now.

“We suffered a lot with the softer tyres here in Qatar, so hopefully we can be better with the different tyres we can use in other events.”

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