“I was hoping to be able to get on the podium today,” Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi said after starting and finishing fifth at Le Mans for the Grand Prix de France. “Still, it was a positive weekend, better than in Jerez. We started the race well and the pace was good. In fact, I arrived at the finish very closely behind our main rivals. Unfortunately, we lost out on acceleration, and because of that it was very difficult to stay with the front-runners — out of the corners they’re very fast.
“But during the weekend we worked well, and our bike was fast. In the parts where you have to really ride hard, I was strong. At the end of the race I felt better, and I managed to stay together with Dovi, Petrucci, and Miller. I was hoping to overtake Miller, but I needed to be a bit faster to attack.”
Rossi remained in fourth place in the championship standings with the result, 23 points behind the leader.
Maverick Viñales was unfortunately knocked out of the race with 21 laps remaining when he was taken out by a rival in a race incident.
“Honestly, I couldn’t do anything,” Viñales said. “I was trying to overtake Aleix at that moment. I think it’s important for us to understand the mistakes we made this weekend, which is mainly on the Saturday with the qualifying strategy. When you start from eleventh on the grid, these types of race incidents are something you’re exposed to. So, we need to keep working to understand what we can improve. It started out as a perfect weekend and we ended it with zero points, so we have to learn from it. I’m sure I could have gone up many places in the race, because I was getting into the rhythm, and even the podium wasn’t too far, just 2s. I think I would have been able to push and close the gap, but when you start from more towards the back it’s always difficult.
“We need to pay attention during the qualifying, because it’s very important to be on the first or second row and make sure we don’t make the same mistake at the next races.”
The next event on the MotoGP calendar is the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello on June 2.
“Now, we immediately start thinking about Mugello,” Rossi said. “Let’s see if we can be a bit more competitive there.”