Valentino Rossi improved by seven places in the space of a week to qualify a competitive fourth (+0.335s) on the grid for tomorrow's Andalucia MotoGP.

Trying fresh ideas after a 'slow' opening weekend in Jerez, the Monster Yamaha rider said he feels stronger in both race pace as well as the time attack.

"At the first race I suffered too much and I was too slow. Now we improve," said Rossi, who was in tenth place when a technical failure took him out of last Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

"We continued to work on the bike today, we have a different setting and I feel better.

"I will start from a good grid position and my pace is not so bad, also in the afternoon, but we still have to improve because in some places we lose a bit. But it will be very important to start in front."

Rossi didn’t reveal exactly what they have changed on his M1, but did name corner entry as the main priority.

A winner on 500cc two-strokes then 990cc, 800cc and 1000cc four-strokes, using Bridgestone and Michelin tyres, Rossi feels that the MotoGP riding style is now determined by tyre characteristics more than ever.

Stressing that it's important to keep an 'open mind' and not rely on the lessons of the past, The Doctor nonetheless insists both bike and rider must adapt to each other, suggesting he has been pushing to go in a new direction with the set-up of his Yamaha.

"I have to say that in the last years, the last period, the riding style changed very much in MotoGP," said the 41-year-old. "In a lot of corners, more than riding well, you need to do the right thing for the tyres.

"And it's not easy, because I have a lot of experience – ha! - but sometimes my experience is a problem because you need to have an open mind and change different things.

"We've changed a lot the setting of the bike, the balance, to try to enter the corners faster. Try to use my style. I try to adapt as much as possible to the modern style of MotoGP with these tyres, but we also need to adapt the bike to me. So I need something different.

"But the step compared to last week is good and now we need to continue in this way."

Interestingly, fellow Italian veteran Andrea Dovizioso also made a similar point after qualifying, when discussing his difficulties in making the GP20 work with the new Michelin rear tyre, leaving him just 14th on the grid.

"The situation is different to last year with the tyre. Bagnaia [3rd] and Miller [7th] are able to make a really good lap time when they put new tyres in... because they ride in a different way and are able to manage the characteristic in a different way," said the triple MotoGP title runner-up. "But I don’t want to copy other riders.

"I am trying to study to understand what we can do. Every rider has a different style so you have to find the best way in your way to go fast, because that’s the best way to be strong in the race. In the end you have to be consistent and strong in the race. So everybody has different riding styles."

Meanwhile, despite being in his 25th year of grand prix racing, one thing Rossi says he hasn't experienced before is the level of intense heat at Jerez this weekend.

The air temperature was 35-degrees and track 56 degrees for qualifying and Rossi expects the race to be his hottest ever.

"This afternoon was hotter [than last weekend] and tomorrow will be another step hotter again. I think tomorrow will be the hottest MotoGP race I've ever seen," said the nine-time world champion. "Now the situation starts to be really, really at the limit for everybody. So I think that it will be a great challenge for everybody to make 25 laps."

Team-mate Maverick Vinales will start from second place, behind the Petronas Yamaha of last Sunday's winner Fabio Quartararo.

 

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