Monster Energy Yamaha factory MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi was left encouraged after the progress made on the opening day of free practice in Phillip Island.
The Italian has been struggling in recent races, often finding himself behind factory team-mate Maverick Vinales and rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo. After dumping some new upgrades in Motegi, the Italian said that things have started well, despite finishing seventh overall.
“It’s gone better than I expected to be honest,” said the 40-year-old.
“This is a unique track, but today I got better with the M1 compared to recent races. We made some changes that I didn’t like at Motegi and then we also had some bad luck, otherwise I could have finished sixth as my pace wasn’t that bad.”
So, with things going better than expected, Rossi was asked about his expectations for Sunday.
“It’s always hard to say on Friday, I’d like to be more competitive than in recent races though,” he said.
“It’s all quite an unknown for now, it will also depend on what happens tomorrow and what conditions are like on Sunday.”