Valentino Rossi reckons the wet weather which is forecast for tomorrow’s French Grand Prix could favour Ducati.
Having qualified a year-best seventh at Le Mans, Rossi said he was happy with both his showing and the competitiveness of the Ducati – but said he could potentially fare even better if Sunday’s race runs, as expected, in the wet.
“Today was a bit more positive: we put together yesterday’s settings with a few modifications and I improved,” Rossi explained. “I’m a bit sorry not to have made the second row, which was pretty close, but the fact remains that seventh place is not so bad, and that this is our best qualifying session of the season.
“The session was very difficult because the condition of the track changed so quickly, but for me we were more competitive on the wet at the beginning.
“Now the conditions are very bad, [it is] raining very hard and the forecast for tomorrow is wet. I think on the wet we can be a bit more competitive so maybe try to do a better position in the race. But anyway we have to try and I hope if it is wet it will be wet in the morning to get some laps in the warm up and better understand our potential.”
Rossi said the inclement conditions seemed to work in Ducati’s favour because it helped improve the feel of the GP12 and also eased ongoing concerns about acceleration on corner exits.
“In the wet, the bike gives a better feel, and you can ride it in a better way,” he explained. “And with less power used in the wet, we have less problem putting the horsepower on the ground.”
Rossi said that working on the settings of the GP12 had allowed the team to take another step forward in France even if major performance upgrades are still some time away.
“I think we are able to do another small step from Portugal because we can work more on the setting of the bike,” he said.
“This afternoon we did a good job of adapting to the track conditions, which changed quite quickly, and every exit I found myself on the track at the right time. We made another small step forward compared to Estoril, and we worked well.”