Valentino Rossi has says his first day of running at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix ‘wasn’t very good’ after ending practice 13th on the timesheets.
The Italian’s woes began before he had even reached the circuit, as he woke up feeling very ill. Comparing the standard fairing on his YZR-M1 with the aerodynamic one in the first session, Rossi was 12th with a 1m25.251s.
Rossi improved his overall feeling on the bike and lowered his laptime to a 1m24.883s in the afternoon, but still missed a potential Q2 spot in 13th.
The Yamaha rider has highlighted sector three as a weak point for him at present, while also admitting to suffering wheelspin.
“It wasn’t a very good day, we had some problems, especially this morning was a difficult practice,” he said.
“When I woke up this morning I also didn’t feel very well, I didn’t have energy, it like the flu, so this morning was difficult.
“This afternoon, unfortunately, in the end my position was in the top 10 which was the target, but we improved the bike and we improved the feeling.
“We’re not strong, we need to make some other modifications to try to be faster, but we’re all very close and we are there.
“I suffer a bit on acceleration because I spin a bit too much and lose time. Also in sector three, where last year I was strong, this year I am very bad because I don’t have the right balance of the bike.”
Team-mate Maverick Vinales struggled considerably less on Friday, the Spaniard – second in the championship and 14 points adrift ahead of this round – ending practice second overall.
Vinales suffered throughout practice and qualifying last week in the Czech Republic, but a podium in the race as well as a positive test on the Monday renewed his confidence on the bike.
Taking things steady this morning, Vinales upped his pace to challenge for top spot in second practice, but was denied by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso at the death.
While pleased with the progress made on Friday, Vinales already has his sights set on improving the bike’s electronics set-up and its performance exiting corners.
“We are really pleased, because we’re starting with a good feeling again,” said Vinales.
“Today we did a really good job, I was feeling quite good on the bike.
“Especially after the Brno test we improved the set-up a lot. For tomorrow I think it will be very important to work further on the electronics and also on the acceleration, which is really crucial here.”