Valentino Rossi’s career is winding down, but his legacy is already well present in MotoGP. Starting with his pupil Pecco Bagnaia, who today in Portimao picked up his fifth consecutive pole position, not forgetting his brother Luca Marini, who instead wasted a big opportunity in Q2 with a crash. The Doctor likes to talk about his ‘proteges’.
“Pecco this year has been awesome – he said about the rider from northern Italy – he has made a massive improvement and, probably, together with Quartararo is the rider who rides best of all. He understands the Ducati, has made 5 poles in a row, and is ready to fight for the title next year. He just has to fit the right tyres” joked Vale recalling the choice of the hard front tire at Misano.
Are you worried that he will try some experiments again tomorrow?
“I am always very worried about Pecco’s choice! (laughs). I saw that in FP4 he also tried the medium at the rear, going strong with that too. I think he was the best in these two days, but it’s better that you talk to him tonight (laughs)”.
As for Marini, how do you judge this season finale?
“He is improving rapidly. This year he has struggled more than he expected, in my opinion they have taken the wrong path from a technical point of view and from the position on the bike, but it’s OK for a debut season. Now that he is in good shape, Luca is showing his speed, because he is a very fast rider, even on the flying lap. Unfortunately he crashed in qualifying, but in FP4 he was 3rd. He has to improve especially in the first laps of the race and I believe that next year we will see a different Luca who will be able to fight for some good results”.
How did your qualifying go on the other hand?
“Today was a more positive day starting in the morning, but especially in the afternoon, when we were able to improve the balance of the bikes and my feelings with the tires, even the best conditions helped me to have more grip. In Q1 I did a decent lap, I’m 9 tenths from pole position, but unfortunately 16th. However, a better position than in the last few races and I can ride well ”.
What do you expect from tomorrow’s race?
“First of all I hope to be able to use the hard rear tyre, it allows me to be consistent. As for the pace, I’m less than a second behind the best, but this also means being behind in the standings, that’s how things are now. However, I can still improve, I have a little too much understeer in two or three points”.
How important is it still for you to get a good result?
“It’s important because it’s the best way to enjoy myself. It happens when you have a good race and you feel fast. It wasn’t too bad at Misano, I would say that for tomorrow a good goal would be to be in the top 10 ”.
Yesterday you spoke about the duel between Hamilton and Verstappen in Formula 1, what do you think of the one between Rea and Razgatlioglu in SBK?
“We are witnessing a big battle after a long period of domination by Rea and it is nice to follow it. They are the two strongest riders, I’ve known Johnny for a long time but Toprak races for Yamaha, so it’s hard for me to decide who to support ”.