Monster Energy factory Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi has said that this Yamaha YZR-M1 finally feels like his bike, after the opening day of free practice at the Sachsenring in Germany.
The Italian is in the middle of one of his worst runs in his long illustrious MotoGP career, failing to finish the race in both Mugello and Assen. Despite the tough stretch, Rossi said that a change he and his Yamaha team made in Assen helped him feel more comfortable on his bike.
“Before the race we made some changes to the Yamaha and I got on better,” said the 40-year-old.
“Today we continued along that path. The M1 feels like my bike again, it lets me push through the fast sections. There’s a lot still do to of course, but this is a good start.”
Rossi has struggled in qualifying at points in 2019, often finding himself having to navigate the always trick Q1 in order to have his shot at pole. Whilst ending the opening day in a much-needed top ten spot, the Italian admitted he was a little slower than he anticipated being.
“If I was sixth or seventh, as I expected to be, I’d be pleased,” he said. “I’m a little less so with tenth.
“Tomorrow I have to take on FP4, but I’m more optimistic this time. With the soft tyre I wasn’t able to improve, as I wanted to. I think it’s too soft a compound, more than that of last year, and so this means that although it offers better grip, it lacks stability, fundamental at a track where there are many consecutive left handers.”
Rossi was also asked about MotoGP rookie sensation, Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman is only five points behind the nine-times World Champion, despite being on a satellite Yamaha. When asked about what he is doing, Rossi said: “Fabio rides very well, he has good lines and interprets the M1 in the right way.
“It looks like he has more grip than me, but I don’t know why. Perhaps he is simply faster.”