This weekend will see PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli back in action at the Losail International Circuit, where the pair will be hoping to come away from the Grand Prix of Doha with results that match their potential.
Although Rossi’s fourth place on the grid went ultimately unrewarded last time out, the Italian will be hoping this qualifying strength pays dividends this weekend in his search for a ninth podium at the Qatari circuit. The last time that Valentino visited the QatarGP rostrum was in 2018 when he finished third, after starting the race from eighth.
“We did expect more from the QatarGP but I struggled in the race and we suffered with the rear tyre, Rossi said. “We still have positives to take with us to the next round because P4 in qualifying was a great result, it was my fastest ever lap at the circuit, and I was very happy with this.”
“Now, we will comprehensively analyse the data during these days before Free Practice and try to fix the problems that we had, try to improve the feeling and hopefully this weekend we will have a better result,” he added.
Team-mate Morbidelli’s QatarGP race was unfortunately marred by a mechanical issue that surfaced whilst on the grid. Franco and his team will be aiming to rectify this for the coming weekend and reverse the bad fortune that he has experienced in recent years at Losail. Morbidelli will be hoping to get back into the championship fight with a good haul of points from Sunday’s race.
“It’s going to be a tricky weekend. We saw after the pre-season test and after the race that something is not right with our package. There are moments of the day that it works well; we had good speed in the afternoon, before it got dark,” Morbidelli said.
“We need to analyse the data from over the weekend to try to understand why. I hope that we can solve the problem for this weekend, we will see what happens. If not, it is going to be a weekend of damage limitation, where we try to defend as much as possible and take what points we can.”