Valentino Rossi says it is “unfortunate” how hard he had to push Yamaha to make changes to the set-up of his M1 ahead of the Andalucian MotoGP at Jerez.
Rossi struggled at the first Jerez race-the Spanish grand prix-relative to his other Yamaha counterparts, rolling around in tenth in the closing stages before an engine problem ended his day for good.
Team-mate Maverick Vinales meanwhile went on to score a strong second place despite having to baby his soft front tyre, while the satellite Petronas SRT machine of Fabio Quartararo went on to dominate the event to secure his maiden premier class success.
The seven-time MotoGP champion was therefore keen to make changes to his machine in order to have a stronger second outing at Jerez, and while eventually getting his way-and finishing third in the Andalucian GP to secure his first rostrum in over a year- he is frustrated that he had to “push” Yamaha in order to have his wish granted.
“We changed a lot the set-up of the bike from Friday,” explained Rossi following the Andalucian GP.
“Unfortunately we have to push a lot on Yamaha, because they didn’t want to, but I felt better from Friday morning and for sure it’s very difficult because there were a lot of riders that were strong.”
Rossi added that the changes made to his M1 have “recovered the feeling” he has been missing for some time, allowing him to “enter the corners faster while stressing the tyres less.”
“This weekend I really rode my bike, we are not perfect but this is the first race in which we have recovered the feeling and the balance that I like from the bike and I can enter into the corners faster, while also stressing the tyre less,” continued Rossi.
“I’m very happy, thanks to David and all my team who did a great job, we have to continue like this as last week was very frustrating.
“I said maybe I stay at home and not go back to Jerez (after Spanish GP), my motivation was low, but after Friday I started to think that we could do a good race as something had switched on within me and the bike.
“This is a great result, not quite like a victory but close.”
Yamaha Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis says that the issues in granting Rossi the changes he wanted stems from changing the minds of the Japanese engineers within the race team, hinting that Rossi’s recent lack of form made them hesitant to stray too far away from the set-up employed by Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales in particular.
“When you’ve got other guys going quicker, in particular with Fabio (Quartararo) and Maverick (Vinales) and also Frankie (Morbidelli), with all our Yamaha’s having a fairly similar range of settings in terms of the type of bike and chassis, Vale’s (Rossi) struggled to get to grips with it and to ride and make it work for him,” said Jarvis.
“We’ve seen that over the last season or so, sometimes Vale’s not been where he’s accustomed to being and he really wanted to change something, he was really disappointed after the first (Jerez) weekend, so when we came here we decided to change something.
“He really wanted to change something just to try it as we had nothing to lose, but changing the minds of Japanese engineers sometimes is not so simple because we have a lot of data and information, with which the other guys are going fast, so why follow this different direction?
“But Valentino obviously has a lot of experience and knows what works for him, and he pushed and we accepted and made the change.
“I wouldn’t say it’s solved all of his problems but he feels much more comfortable on the bike and he feels it’s his bike again and therefore he can ride it better, that’s part of what riders have to do they need to push inside the box as much as they do out on the track.”