Rossi says third row was possible after encountering traffic on flying lap
|By Toby Moody and Sam Tremayne||Saturday, September 3rd 2011, 16:45 GMT|
Valentino Rossi believes qualifying on the third row at the San Marino Grand Prix would have been possible were it not for traffic on his final lap.
The Italian has been struggling throughout the weekend on his Ducati, and qualified 11th fastest - 1.5s off pole and 0.1s off the top Aspar Ducati of Hector Barbera.
Rossi said that his feeling with the bike had improved in qualifying however, and that he could have been half a second faster were it not for a delay caused by having to pass Randy de Puniet.
"Today was a little better, as was my feeling with the bike," Rossi said. "We could have made a better position but on my good lap I lost half a second overtaking de Puniet.
"For sure it's not fantastic, with the other guys going fast, but we lose time in every section of the circuit."
Rossi also revealed he was still being hampered by the gearbox problems that dogged him at Indianapolis, and by straight-line brake issues, but remained upbeat about his race chances.
"We have a problem with our new generation gearbox, which is still not ready - I run off because it sticks in neutral.
"I also have a problem with straight-line braking, and we have to try and fix both for tomorrow and work on improving them for next year also.
"For tomorrow we just try to do a good race - as a minimum for the fans, who are sad but demonstrate their support in difficult times.
"Normally our race pace is good and we can improve, but I will start from behind so for sure it will be hard."