Yamaha Racing Corp.
Rossi: failed qualifying gamble was only option
Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi says the strategy that consigned him to 17th on the grid for the Aragon Grand Prix was his only chance at advancing into the pole shootout.
In Q1 Rossi was just fifth and risked not making it through to the second part of qualifying.
He tried to follow another rider as he emerged from his pits for his second and final run.
He mistimed his strategy and did not manage another representative lap before the end of the session, ultimately ending up eighth in Q1.
Rossi said: "In the Q1, there was some confusion.
"I waited a bit too much and I was not able to make the lap.
"But if I make the lap I think I can improve two or three position, but unfortunately I don't have the speed for entering Q2."
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory) - GP of San Marino 2018Yamaha Racing Corp.
The result translated to 18th overall (17th after Franco Morbidelli's penalty), equalling the seven-time MotoGP champion's worst-ever qualifying - at Assen in 2006, when he was riding with injuries.
Rossi continued: "In reality, I decide to bet everything because I know that to go into Q1, I need a lap behind somebody.
"And I waited. But unfortunately, we waited too much."
Yamaha has endured a rotten weekend at Aragon so far, and Rossi admitted his crew was left feeling incapable of turning his fortunes around for the race.
"Unfortunately practice by practice we have the feeling, what we can do in the box during the weekend, our normal work of set-up, doesn't change our problem.
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory), Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech3) - GP of San Marino 2018Yamaha Racing Corp.
"The feeling with the bike remains always difficult, and also the speed doesn't improve.
"For tomorrow, we try to do something else. We try to modify the bike in another way, and we see if we can make a better race and I will try to take some points, I think that this can be the target for tomorrow."
Factory Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales topped Q1 but could do no better than 11th in the pole shootout, setting his best time on the initial used-tyre run.
"The laptime in Q2 was with a used tyre, then when I got the new tyre I got a problem with a sensor and I could not finish the lap," he said.
"So I think my laptime is not true [reflection], I would have been a bit more in front."
Vinales then picked up a three-place grid penalty for impeding KTM's Bradley Smith and will start 14th.
Asked about the sanction, he said: "I think what I saw is maybe I disturbed Bradley, rules are rules. It's like this."