MotoGP, Misano 2: Rossi aims to win … thinking about title number 10

MotoGP returns to Misano over the weekend, with the usual tire theme at the center of attention. Here are the favorites for the victory and why Valentino Rossi can believe in the tenth world title

And now, after the Italian flag of Misano 1 with the first and second place of Morbidelli and Bagnaia, MotoGP makes an encore on Sunday 20 September with Misano 2, a golden opportunity for those who want to confirm themselves and those who, on the other hand, are looking for revenge immediately. Nothing is taken for granted, especially in a World Cup with five different winners in six races (four for the first time), with a short ranking to the Dovizioso command with only 76 points and the tenth, Oliveira, trailing by just 28 points. It is the rubber (or rather: the interpretation and management of rubber) that moves the balance – for or against – that changes the cards every time, in a ballet not devoid of show and appeal, among winners which become defeated and vice versa.

The tires condition the drivers’ driving

Saying that it is the “tire championship” does not mean taking away its value. And to say that the driver who knows how to handle the tire best wins does not mean that he is not a champion, even if caution is needed – the feedback from multiple races and championships – before using the word phenomenon. This MotoGP is conditioned by these tires, especially at Misano with the new abrasive asphalt but with annoying and influential depressions in defining set-ups and in achieving lap times. Michelin has developed very performing tires but with a very narrow range of tire use, with a range that is very sensitive to operating temperatures and pressures. Consequently, this greatly affects the driver’s driving style, how he brakes and cornering, as well as acceleration. This is why it is important to qualify in the first positions thus avoiding starting in the group (see Dovizioso last Sunday) and being conditioned by the race of those in front. In fact, in the brawl, it is difficult to keep the tire temperature at the correct values, as you are unable to detach or accelerate where it would be appropriate to do so, you are conditioned by the braking and throttle points of the preceding drivers. This does not allow to keep the correct temperature of the tire, making it work badly: here is the 2-3 tenths of difference between who is in front and who is chasing in the group.

The right pace

All this unlike what happens for example with Pirelli in Sbk. There the range of use is wider and therefore these MotoGP problems have much less impact. Not only does the driver have to make a mistake when choosing tires at the start (for example last Sunday Rossi had the rear replaced at the very last moment hard with the average) but has to manage the tires wisely, not exaggerating in the first laps and then being forced to raise their times from mid-race (as Miller did). But not even by not giving everything too late, as Rossi did, who ran strong constantly, always on the edge of 1 and 33, but with his best times beyond the 18th lap and with his best time (1’33 “036 ) on the 26th lap – the penultimate – thus burning, beyond the final mistake at the braking of the Sunset, the possibility of getting on the podium and perhaps also the possibility of making a bang.

To the sound of times

Ditto Viñales, very fast only in the last 5-6 laps. Another matter for Quartararo, betrayed by his own enthusiasm rather than by tire wear in the long phase of Maverick’s not easy overtaking. The analysis of the times, although brief, makes us understand the evolution of the race and its final result. Morbidelli, protagonist of an initial show start and escape, kept a fast and steady pace, dropping twice under 1 and 33: on lap 11 with a 1’32 “931 and on lap 15 with a 1’32 ”748, in fact giving two tears towards the middle of the race. Rossi, only 4 times out of 27 went faster than Morbidelli: on the 18th lap (1’33 “152 against the 1’33” 177 of the pupil-treadmill), on the 24th (1’33 “291 against the ‘1’33 “457), at 25th (1’33” 079 against 1’33 “443) and at 26 ° (1’33” 036 against 1’33 “567), when Bagnaia scores 1’ 33 ”018 after the same – in great comeback – in the eighth lap he had set the record lap in 1’32” 705! For the record: the pole-monstre of Viñales: 1’31 “411 and the record of the 2018 circuit (with old asphalt) of Dovi: 1’32” 678 against the 1’33.024 best time of the Forlì in the race on Sunday. Bagnaia himself in his forcing falls below 1 and 33 seven times: on lap 10 (1’32 “910); at 11th (1’32 “890); at 12th (1’32 “852); at the 15th (1’32 “977); at 16th (1’32 “842); at the 17th (1’32 “830); at 18th (1’32 “972). Rins shatters 1 and 33 6 times: on lap 10 (1’32 “851); 11th (1’32 “864); at 12th (1’32 “835); at 15th (1’32 “954); at 16th (1’32 “978); at 17th (1’32 “891). Viñales only twice: on lap 24 (1’32 ”871) and on lap 25 (1’32” 741). Mir – cynical – once: on lap 27 (1’32 ”858).

The favorites for Sunday

There are seven contenders for the victory at Misano 2: the first six from last Sunday (Morbidelli, Bagnaia, Mir, Rossi, Rins and Viñales) plus Quartararo. Dovizioso? Difficult, very difficult. Although after the tests at Misano on Tuesday Andrea smiles again: “Now I have the cards to play the title, I was able to understand what to change in my driving style to adapt to the Michelin, I feel more calm and relaxed ”. Definitely the lesson of Race 1 e these tests, for a rider of such experience and intelligence, they will certainly have served to make him one of the protagonists of Race 2. And here is Rossi, the most awaited next Sunday at Misano, called to a historic exploit. Tavullia’s ace has only one goal: victory. Increase the loot in the standings by climbing further positions, extend your shadow over your opponents, like a club, also conditioning them psychologically in logic: the wolf is back, off to the wolf! Valentino wants to take the last train for title number 10 at Misano. The handicap remains of the lowest top speed (about 7-8 km / h less) and in acceleration of the Yamaha, which the Team tries to decrease is unknown. such as, for example, perhaps with slightly different gear ratios. Palliatives? Fortunately, speed is not decisive at Misano, as demonstrated last Sunday by Morbidelli’s exploits and, albeit with different conclusions, also by Viñales and Quartararo.

Rossi’s goal

With races so close, Rossi cannot ask Yamaha for more power and torque but work on further refinement of the set-up of his M1. Rossi does not need a race like that of Misano 1 anymore. Ditto earning a position or two to enjoy the podium again. The Doctor has one goal: to win! One strategy: attack! Rossi can do it: win this race by building the final path that will lead him to the title. There are even nine riders who at the end of the GP of Romagna can theoretically take the lead in the general classification. A victory by Rossi, especially if combined with an unlucky day of the most feared competitors, can give a shake to the plant leaving the best fruit on top, even if so ripe that nothing can make it fall. Misano 2, for Valentino, is also an opportunity to pay tribute to his talented children of the Academy by giving them – after the well-deserved compliments and hugs of last Sunday – a sound pay. It is well known that the true master does not care if the disciple surpasses him. But this time the exception doesn’t hurt.

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