Monster Energy factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi admitted that he was pleasantly surprised by the pace of all four Yamaha’s, as the Italian ended the opening day of free practice fourth fastest in front of his home crowd in Misano.
Following on from an encouraging, if not somewhat underwhelming weekend last time out in Silverstone, the Italian was the third Yamaha in the top four, behind Maverick Vinales, Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez, with the final M1 of Franco Morbidelli one spot further back in fifth place.
When asked why the Yamaha worked so well in Misano, Rossi said: “Honestly, I don’t know, but I am pleased anyway.
“Usually when the track offers little grip, like here, we suffer but today we were fast.
“As I said, all the Yamahas have been competitive, even in different configurations. This doesn’t mean our work is done, as I still have a lot to do.
“This doesn’t mean our work is done, as I still have a lot to do. The balance of my bike isn’t fantastic, and I’d like more traction. I also need to take a step, in terms of the flying lap to be closer to Vinales and Quartararo.”
Never shy about voicing his concerns about the Yamaha factory when developments weren’t forthcoming through 2018, the nine-times World Champion was complimentary of the work done and the new pieces he has had to try.
“They [Yamaha] are working hard and in the right direction,” said Rossi.
“We hadn’t tried anything new since Brno 2016 and if there was anything, it was never obviously better. A difficult period technical-speaking, in which the gap to our rivals increased.”
When asked about his race pace and chances to challenge at the front come Sunday, Rossi was eager to downplay his pace, admitting that he hasn’t been working too much on race pace through the first day.
“I haven’t worked a lot on pace today, because I had other things to do,” he said.
“The track is very different to how it was a year ago, and the conditions were different to what we had in testing. The new pieces seemed clearly better to me during the test, but today I had to readapt the set-up.”