After a worrisome pre-season performance, the living legend Valentino Rossi has reminded everyone why he is still a dominant force in MotoGP.
Things weren’t looking good for Rossi during the pre-season. While the grizzled Italian had managed to turn in some decent performances towards the end of his pre-season run, the majority of his official winter testing runs were beleaguered with poor performances, casting a shade of doubt as to whether Rossi could emerge as a contender in time for the MotoGP 2017 season.
Fortune seemed to smile on Rossi as the luck and performance that he’d been hoping for showed up just in time for the delayed start of the opening race in Qatar. The Yamaha Movistar rider was off to a solid start in Qatar – where he trailed behind teammate Maverick Vinales and managed to secure a third-place podium finish right behind Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Valentino was understandably happy with the results from the Qatar opening race, saying that he’s enjoying even better results than last year in his podium finish:
“Starting the season with a podium is always great, better than last year. Arriving from a difficult period, like me with really bad winter tests, from November in Valencia when I tried the new bike I never felt good.
I have to say a great thank you to Yamaha and all my team because in all this period I always felt a great support and trust in me. The situation was quite critical.
Something changed from Thursday to Friday, because on Thursday we still had the same problem I had during all the tests and it was very frustrating.
But Friday was better. I continued to go quite slowly, but I started to improve. From that moment I was quite optimistic about finishing in the first five.
Also, seriously, I’m quite old so when you don’t have the motivation and the right pressure of the race, it becomes more difficult.
I think this weekend was important.” – Valentino Rossi
There is no understating the importance of this race weekend – now we’ll just have to bide our time and see if Rossi can maintain this level of performance for the rest of the season. Maverick Vinales took the win, with Andrea Dovizioso coming home in second place.