The nine-time grand prix world champion qualified a lowly 17th at the Algarve track and admitted he was “worried” about his pace having failed to make any step forward from his difficult Doha GP weekend.
However, Rossi managed to take a step forward with bike set-up to improve braking and acceleration for the race and was running decent pace as he battled for the top 10 before crashing out on lap 15.
When asked by Motorsport.com if his pace in last Sunday’s race offered him more encouragement, he said: “Yes, it depends very much on the tyres.
“Here we can use the hard tyre and with the hard tyre I’m able to be faster.
“The race at the end was not too bad from the position from where I start and my pace was not bad compared to yesterday. So, I am more confident.”
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Explaining his race further, he added: “I was better because we improved the setting of the bike and put on the hard rear which gave me better feeling, better stability.
“My pace was not bad. Unfortunately, when you start behind it’s always difficult.
“I did one mistake in Turn 1, I lose a bit of time overtaking Luca [Marini].
“But after, I can arrive in the top 10 and take some points. But unfortunately, I lost the front at Turns 10, 11.
“We have to check the data, but it’s a shame because we could have taken some points. But [the fact] it remains that in the race I was a bit better.”
Rossi’s dice with Avintia rookie Marini was significant as it was against his half-brother, who was riding a Ducati in VR46 branding.
The Italian admitted this was a “strange” feeling.
“Unfortunately, I had to do more aggressive with my brother because in that moment I was faster and I was behind Alex Marquez,” Rossi said.
“So, more or less we had the same pace, but I lose one lap and a half overtaking Luca.
“But it’s a strange feeling overtaking a VR46 bike, but especially overtaking my brother.”