Valentino Rossi admits he is not expecting to leave Malaysia a 10-time world champion, despite having a first opportunity to seal this year’s MotoGP title on Sunday.
Rossi can win the title if he stretches his 11 point advantage over Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the riders’ championship to 26 at Sepang.
Lorenzo must ensure he finishes inside the top four to ensure that the title chase goes to the final round at Valencia in two weeks’ time, an outcome Rossi conceded is highly likely.
Asked how he was feeling ahead of his first title chance of the season, Rossi replied: “I don’t feel so different, because I don’t think it will be possible [to win the title].
“Now the pressure is high, during the night you start to think about the tracks, the corners, Valencia and everything.
“But I think it won’t be tonight, because [the championship] will finish in Valencia.”
Vibration problem solved
After struggling with chatter on his factory Yamaha M1 in Friday practice, Rossi was able to improve his pace sufficiently to deny Lorenzo a spot on the front row for the crucial Sepang encounter.
“Yesterday I was worried because everything was good until I put in the last two tyres and I expected to make a good time attack,” explained the Italian.
“But unfortunately I had some problem, some vibration, some chattering, so I go down into eighth place and Jorge was [fastest].
“Today we improved a lot the bike, the setting, and the pace was not so bad. We still have something to make a bit better but I’m fast and I can arrive in a good way.”
After accusing Marquez of helping Lorenzo last weekend at Phillip Island, Rossi reiterated that he hopes to see no repeat of such tactics in Malaysia.
“I hope every rider makes his own race, tries for his own best result, and we’ll see what happens,” he said, clearly referring to Marquez.