Valentino Rossi On The Estoril Race: "The Biggest Difference Was The Setting"

After the press conference at Estoril, Valentino Rossi talked to the press about his all too brief battle with Jorge Lorenzo, and why he had not been able to fight with his Fiat Yamaha teammate and bitter rival as he had in the past couple of races. The difference, Rossi explained, was the lack of dry practice time, as Jorge Lorenzo could use the setting which he used to win the race last year, while Rossi had struggled at the Estoril circuit in 2009. Lorenzo had earlier confirmed that they had done little to the bike except plug in the setting from last year, and the Spaniard had been able to walk away from the front.

Here's what Rossi had to say about the race, talking to the press at Estoril:

Valentino Rossi: The bigger difference, I think that, like Jorge said, they put the setting last year that was very good and the work is finished, you know. We race with a big difference in the setting compared to last year, because last year we had a bad result, but we worked very well in the wet. 

I think I was the favorite for the victory if we have a wet race, because this morning I was the fastest on the track. But you know, dry, we have just to trust in our work on the wet, make the changes that we usually make for the dry, and start. And I am okay, I have a good pace, a good feeling with the bike from the beginning, in fact I take some advantage. But unfortunately the bike started to move a bit too much. I think this weekend we made a good step in the setting. But it is still not enough. 

I am curious to understand if we are ready to make another step in Valencia, that is usually a quite bad track for me, but next week will be an important week for me, for my future. First the race, I can fight for the second place [in the championship]. I am third, that is a good result, if you think that I missed four races and I make a lot of races as injured. And from Tuesday, start the new adventure and try the new bike. I have to be fit this week.

Q: What do you think was the difference between your bike and Jorge's? Where did you see that he had the advantage when he was up front?

VR: Yes, he had more grip and acceleration

Q: The gap to Jorge was 8 seconds. Is that a surprise?

VR: 8 seconds is not the real gap. When Jorge overtake me, he arrived very fast. I tried to stay with him, for two or three laps, I make my best lap, I didn't give up a lot, but after, when I see that is impossible to stay with him. Also because I finish the strength in my shoulder, the shoulder give me a lot of problem in the last part of the race. In fact also if I have to battle with him I think it is difficult, because I don't have enough strength in the shoulder. So I give up and I try to not risk, it is not real, exactly.

Q: You are quite good friends with Simoncelli, and he has had a couple of good races, and was very close to a podium today. Do you think that when he's on a full factory Honda next year that he will be a threat?

VR: Yes! He has a very clever approach, because he started quietly, also very slow, too slow, but now looks like he made the step. He made the step - not to our level, he is still not at our level, but looks like he is coming stronger. He now make a good result four or five races in a row that make good result, he is riding better. We have to be worried next year, because in the battle one-to-one he is ****ing aggresive! And also ****ing big!! 

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I'm disappointed by his comments - I am sure Lorenzo's setting was better - but he got owned today. He normally just admits it - this one must of hurt.

I am big Rossi Fan - but JLo was damn impressive today.


That's pretty funny.
And probably pretty accurate.

But what was that last line:
Rossi dreams of becoming a father?

I know a lot of racers and I can tell you that very few think any other racer can beat them if they are/were on equal machinery. And the ones that don't think that way are older and past their prime.

It's just part of what makes racers unique. I'm glad Vale and all the other great competitors think that way. I would be dissapointed if they didn't.

show once again that they can set up a bike extremely quickly, especially at tracks Lorenzo likes.

Stupid rain.

I don't see how one can comment on the skill of the rider isolated from the set up of the bike. Maybe if they shared info and made the same choices. But even then this doesn't work, as different riders have different styles that require different set ups, and all of them can be fast. So in the premier class, bike and rider really are one.

Early this season it certainly looks like JLo was achieving better set up more consistently than Rossi. To the extent that Rossi crashed. After that who can say as Rossi was modifying his set up to compensate for his injury.

So yeah- as far as "GOAT" goes nobody can say until JL has been riding as long as Rossi.

I'm a huge Rossi fan, but this season, JL and his crew simply did the better job.

Rossi rode only one race this year at full health, he hurt his shoulder after the first race and has never been the same since. We will never know what could of happened .The shoulder has effected there set up , and ability to use even the previous years settings . We can only hope that next year all the top riders are healthy, all season long !

It is rare if a single rider can ride a whole season without injuries, let alone the whole top. Every season one of the favorites is at some point missing races and then recovering. I do hope with you, but chances of a fit four are slimmer than slim.

A healthy Rossi only finished a second ahead of an injured Lorenzo at the first race.

I'd expect he and his team are co-designing the M1. To say he is just riding around on Rossi's bike is hardly fair. He's done a hell of a job this year and he'll be vilified for it until Vale leaves the sport by the same crowd....boring as hell if you ask me.

The real sign of his class will be his ability to drive technological direction as the leader of the team, rather than what he was entering into this year, pretty much the second tier.

But will also see if Yamaha get complacent, as they appeared to be in '06/'07

I'm gonna make another 'comment' on this topic: I don't know how long some of you guys have been following 'racing', but I go back to King Kenny heading to Europe w/NO internet/etc and finding out what happened by making phone calls and waiting for Motorcycle News!

1) Comparing 'electronic' bikes to the evil/soul killing 500cc machines of 'yesteryear' is like comparing apples to oysters--yes, you can both eat them, but . . . . My racing experience consists of drag racing in the 70's/80's . . my bike, a 'modified' Z1 (903!!! for you that remember that bike), friends bikes, AND my brothers Denco modified H2!!! which inlcuded a 4" lengthen swingarm! EVERYTHING I RACED were 4-strokes, w/the exception of THAT H2!!! I swear the powerband was 500 rpm wide . . . OK I exaggerate . . . 300 rpm WIDE! That bike was the most evil/finicky/touchy/tempermental BEAST I ever raced. Excitting/Fun . . . YES! I'm smiling just thinking about launching that 'thing' . . . My point is this: the difference between racing my Z1 and THAT H2 was day & night!!!! HOW THE HELL DO YOU ROADRACE ONE OF THOSE THINGS? Ask Roberts, Spencer, Swantz, Rainey, Lawson, Doohan, ROSSI . . . you needed the right wrist control of a neurosurgeon to SURVIVE! Not race the thing . . . to SURVIVE ON THE BEAST!!! IF we went back to 990 NO ELECTRONICS . . . some riders would have a helleva time being out front. Not their FAULT . . . they'd learn to adapt 2 the new bikes, but w/out the electronics . . . Look at the two most VOCAL riders that want the electronics taken off---Rossi & Stoner! Hmmm . . .
2) When Hayden won the WC, many/MANY complained bitterly about his winning the WC, when Rossi was obviously 'FASTER'. I posted, several times, that RACING IS A TEAM SPORT!!! The TEAM does their job, giving their rider the equipment, the RIDER then takes the equipment and pushes it to the limit! IF the TEAM fails, it doesn't matter how fast the rider is . . . look at Red Bull this year in F1---Vettel should be WAY AHEAD in points, w/the WC locked up, but his TEAM has failed him 2-3 times WHILE LEADING THE RACE! Look at the LAST RACE! IF . . . Rossi's TEAM had done their job, the bike wouldn't have left Rossi stranded on the track, while leading several races!!! IF/IF/IF/IF doesn't matter . . . IF Stoner's front end problems were fixed back @ race 1 . . . Rossi not injuried his shoulder/broke his leg . . . DOESN"T MATTER! IF Pedrosa had won the WC, I think there'd be less whinning/complaining just due to . . . . . I do NOT like Lorenzo's 'attitude', but that does NOT affect my appreciation of his STUNNING TALENT!
3) ENJOY THE RACING! Yes, I'd LOVE to see the battles we USE TO HAVE, but these guys are ridding bikes @ a level that we can't even imagine. Spies, at Laguna, when he was interviewed on the grid about 'getting out front', said, 'Look at who's in front of me? Their in the 21's around here?' This is a guy that is FAST/FAST/FAST . . . and HE'S IMPRESSED!!!

990 with no electrinics was a bad machine for Casey Stoner, i dont know what Ducati saw on him but it sure got them a championship, back to my point, he could not ride that bike to its full potential. Can you, David, give us the exact number of crashes during the 06 season from Casey?

Stoner crashed out losing the front, since he couldn't get to grips (no pun intended...) with the questionable Michelins he got being an LCR rider. Checa and especially De Puniet had very similar problems in '07 and '08.
Edit: seeing his current troubles, he does seem to be sensitive on the front...

For all those that still feel the need to go on and on and on about electronics and what bike was harder to ride..........Get over it. NONE of you have ridden EITHER bike in anger, on a circuit, in a race, in MOTO GP.

To say one particular type of bike is harder to ride,or takes more skill is ignorant. EVERY different bike requires a different level of MENTAL and physical fortitude to ride at the WC level.

Whether it's having finesse in wrist control, or holding the throttle wide open at full lean in a 200kmh+ corner, it all takes MENTAL strength.

As for The GOAT argument. Leave it for the Fanboi sites. There are times when I love the internet, then there are times like these when it's a curse.

You may notice there's suddenly a lot of comments missing from this article. I had a clear out, not because the comments were particularly inflammatory, but mainly because the tone of the argument was heading in the wrong direction. I'm very sorry, as there were some interesting and intelligent comments that also got lost, but I had to preempt any further arguments.