Sunday, 23 March 2014
Valentino Rossi’s proved his qualities yet again on Sunday evening at
the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar, riding from tenth on the grid
to second place on the podium, enjoying a battle with the victorious
Marc Marquez along the way.
Grip issues and the Qatar testing advantage of many of his rivals saw Rossi no higher than sixth going into Qualifying on Saturday evening. The Italian’s fortunes did not improve, as he was only able to qualify on the fourth row.
However, Rossi was able to show his experience and race craft come business time, as he fought hard with World Champion Marquez - after slicing his way through the field.
The Italian and the Spaniard battled throughout the race as the likes of Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) crashed out around them.
The last two laps saw the pair swap places several times and finish just 0.259s apart, three seconds clear of Dani Pedrosa.
“It was a great battle, but I enjoyed it a little bit less than him [Marquez] because I finished behind!” joked Rossi. “It was great and my race was fun, starting from the fourth row was very risky but I did all the right overtakes and it was great when I got to the front. I was very happy and the bike was good. I had the potential to fight with Marc, but he was stronger than me.”
On his new crew chief, Rossi said, “I took a gamble on asking Silvano Galbusera to come and work with me this year. I had a good feeling when I tested the R1 Superbike with him after I broke my leg, but it was a gamble because he had no experience in MotoGP. We are able to communicate well and that has helped with the setting of the bike and to be more competitive."