Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi completes the opening day of the second and final MotoGP pre season test in P13, but says ‘Today I feel like a real rider’.
It was a difficult opening test with his new team Petronas Yamaha last weekend, but Rossi enjoyed a more consistent performance on his third outing for the Malaysian based team.
While Rossi remains over a second away from the likes of Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales from the factory team, the Italian was closer to his team-mate Franco Morbidelli, after improving his lap time by over a second from Sunday.
“Today is a lot better day for me. At the end I’m p13, so it’s nothing great for sure, but I improved my lap time by more than 1 second. Also I improved my pace and my feeling with the bike,” said Rossi.
“We worked a lot with all the team, so I am happy about the work because my pace is – I’m not at the level of the top, but I am a lot closer.
“We have to say that especially the first two, but also Viñales, they make an impressive time attack. I think that’s the record of the circuit maybe.”
“But today I feel like a real rider, I ride quite well and we improve very much. We tried new stuff and continued to compare the new chassis, but today was more positive. Everybody is very strong and I miss something but it’s just the first day. So it’s a good start.”
Rossi has been one of the busiest Yamaha riders when it comes to testing the new chassis so far. And while it’s not quite the same as the 19 chassis, which all four Yamaha riders preferred, there are signs of it not being far away.
The chassis was not the only component of the bike Rossi worked on today, as he also tested some new aero parts.
Rossi added: “The new chassis is better, because we have better turning. Unfortunately with the 2020 chassis we lose some turning. And this one is better from this point of view.
“It’s not the same as the 2019 chassis, but anyway it’s more close and also has some other good points. Today I tried some different things for the aerodynamics, like the new fairing, and it’s beautiful.
“We improved a lot the top speed. This is positive, even if Ducati are still like 10 km/h faster, but also we improve a lot.”
Tyre grip was a problem area for Yamaha in 2020, and it was again an issue that resurfaced on Sunday during the opening test for Rossi, but there seems to have been a step forward in this regard.
“For me the second day of the test [Sunday] I had a lot of problems with the tyres because I don’t have very good grip, I suffer very, very much. Today looks like the tyres were better.
“The chassis is good and helped me improve the pace. And I also improved the riding style, because I have also some corners where I was not strong enough, especially in entry.
“So it’s all togethera positive day. When you try good stuff, the better stuff, it is also better for the motivation. Because finding the right motivation and the right concentration in a long day in the test is not easy. And also physically I feel better after the first test.”