What Happened to Valentino Rossi in Mugello?

Photo credit - Motorsport.com
  • Valentino Rossi struggled immensely at the Italian MotoGP round at Mugello.

  • He qualified a lowly 18thafter making mistakes in Q1.

  • He went off the road once and finally crashed out during the race.

To recap, it was a horrible weekend for Valentino Rossi at Mugello. He qualified 18thon the grid, went off the road once before ultimately crashing out altogether.

Rossi had won nine times at Mugello, after all. But even when Yamaha started suffering, he qualified in pole position and led the race in 2016, only to see his Yamaha YZR-M1’s engine blow up later in the race. A year later, he finished fourth despite an injury prior to the race. Lastly, he finished on the podium last year.\

But everything unraveled at the Italian MotoGP 2019.

Although it seems that Yamaha has solved the tyre degradation problem, the bike still lacks acceleration and top speed. This is especially critical at the Tuscany track where we saw how the Ducati and Honda took the top spots in qualifying.

In Q1, Rossi was caught together with Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar). Matters were complicated by the presence of Mission Winnow Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Michele Pirro who found themselves in Q1, too, due to their botched FP3 session. Keep in mind that only two fastest riders will advance to Q2.

Rossi didn’t want to provide Rins with the all too important slipstream but neither did Rins to Rossi. Because if one did so, one rider will progress to Q2 while the other stays behind.

Then Rossi made a mistake at the end of the session. His bike developed a huge headshake while exiting a corner in fourth gear. When he braked for the last turn, the brake lever came back all the way to the handlebar. Rossi overshot the corner, thereby ruining his chance to set a good time and progress to Q2.

The headshake had forced the brake pads back like after how a mechanic pries the pads apart to re-install the calipers. Brembo has a system which brings the pads back in contact with the brake disc, but Rossi didn’t install it because the system yields a different feel at the brake lever.

In the end, Rins was stuck in 13thwhile Rossi ended up in 18th. Both Dovizioso and Pirro snuck into Q2.

Over to the race, Rossi came together with Joan Mir on the other Suzuki and both went into the gravel. The former kept the bike going and rejoined the race. He finally crashed at the Arrabbiata 2 corner from pushing too hard.

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