Nine-times MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi leaves Phillip Island disappointed following a tough three days of testing at the Australian circuit.
The Movistar Yamaha rider spent the day running the new chassis and on used rubber in order to improve his performance in the second half of a race, which was an area Yamaha struggled with in 2016.
The Italian and his team looked into a set-up ‘quite different’ from what they had used throughout the week, but found that this didn’t improve things all that much. After 52 laps of the 2.7-mile Phillip Island, Rossi’s early effort of 1m29.470s left him 11th on the time sheets.
The test wasn’t a complete write-off for Rossi, who found some areas of the 2017 YZR-M1 to be a step in the right direction, in particular its engine.
“Today we worked a lot on the pace for the second half of the race, because we suffered in that area last year,” he said.
“We tried something quite different, but in the end we didn’t improve a lot, so we’ll have to try something else. I think the bike has good aspects, especially the engine, but for sure this test was more difficult for me than the one in Sepang. I’m not very happy and we need to try to do better.”
Numerous issues for Rossi across the three days meant he was unable to conduct a race simulation, whereas test leader and team-mate Maverick Vinales managed two on the final day.
The Spaniard completed over 100 laps on Friday, including another ominous run in the 1m28s bracket. At the chequered flag, he was top of the pile by nearly three tenths of a second on a 1m28.549s.
Once again focusing his efforts on race runs today, Vinales leaves the test feeling satisfied with his work and heads to Qatar with a clearer direction on bike set-up to work from.
“It was a very positive test for us,” said the man who has topped all 2017 pre-season tests so far.
“We came here to try many items and now we got thing clear and we already know which set-up we can start using in Qatar. We did a lot of work and I’m happy about that.
“Today we concentrated mainly on race pace and I’m satisfied, but we’re still able to improve. We didn’t decide on the fairing yet, it’s still totally open, you never know.”
Pre-season testing will conclude with three more days of running at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar beginning on March 10.