Valentino Rossi says he “needed” to get a race distance under his belt in the Valencia Grand Prix having not finished a race since the San Marino GP in September.
The Yamaha rider suffered three successive crashes in the Emilia Romagna, Catalan and French GP’s before being ruled out of both encounters at Motorland Aragon after contracting Covid-19.
He made his competition return on Saturday for the European GP at Valencia last weekend, though his already compromised event was brought to a screeching result after just four laps in Sunday’s race due to electrical problems with his M1.
Rossi says he knew the Valencia GP would be “difficult” coming in as a result of his severe lack of recent race experience, twinned with the fact Valencia is his “worst track”, though he finished a respectable 12th just 0.674 down on team-mate Maverick Vinales on a weekend Yamaha’s 2020 spec machine struggled for out-right performance.
“When you are at this level you have to come back strong step by step, and I needed this race because last week I only did four laps,” said Rossi.
“I had six zero (points finishes) between mistakes, problem with the bike and Covid and we know this weekend would be difficult because this (Valencia) is the worst track for me, in all my career.
“We tried everything but unfortunately we suffered a lot, we had very little grip but at least we finished the race.
“I didn’t feel fast enough but I was consistent until the end and also physically I feel good, which is important.”
Rossi is hoping he can be more competitive at the “fantastic” Portimao circuit that stages this weekend’s MotoGP season finale having “felt good” during the one day test held at the venue last month, although all riders aside from Aprilia’s contenders-who could use the RS-GP as a result of its concession allowance- had to contest the day with road-going superbikes.
“Now we hope that next week in Portimao we can feel better with the bike and the tyres so we can be more competitive,” added Rossi.
“The track (Portimao) is fantastic, and coming from Valencia is even more fantastic.
“I felt good during the test, it’s quite different from all the other tracks but everything is correlated to the feeling of the bike and how the tyre will work because here we tried everything but never had grip.”
Rossi’s run of non-points finishes-plus his costly engine failure in the season-opening Spanish GP at Jerez-have taken their toll on his position in the riders standings, the Italian having slipped to 15th overall on 62 points.
The seven-time premier class world champion has stood on the rostrum just once so far in his final season with the Yamaha factory squad, having bagged third in the Andalucian GP in the second race of the year.