After final MotoGP qualifying I asked Valentino Rossi if, in all of the practice and qualifying sessions, he had tested the Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike with a full fuel load and on a race tire.
Rossi looked at me like I had asked him to don a grass skirt.
"Excuse me, what?" he replied.
Have you had a chance to test the bike in the way you intend to race it--with a full tank of gas and using the race tire?
Two days of practice had gone by. Certainly one session must have been devoted to a race set up?
"No," Rossi said. "Tomorrow morning we probably will do that."
The new MotoGP qualifying format favors qualifying. Including the short final qualifying session, basically every session before final qualifying has to be devoted to the search for a fast "Q" lap. It's just that the set up needed for that fast lap--presumably light fuel load, short wheelbase and with a soft tire--may be 180 degrees away from what the rider will need in the race.
|Rossi looked at me like I had asked him to don a grass skirt.|
MotoGP teams basically spend most of the available time on track looking for the set up that will work in qualifying. Then, on Sunday, they try to find a race set up in the morning session.
In this morning's MotoGP race warm-up session, Rossi was seventh-fastest. For the race he is gridded in the middle of the second row.