Petronas SRT MotoGP duo Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli outlined the problems that led to both dropping out of the top ten in Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix.
Rossi struggled to match the pace of the leading riders after qualifying a strong fourth and dropped to 12th by the flag, while Morbidelli suffered a mechanical problem-thought to be his hole-shot device stuck on for the entire race according to Autosport-and could only manage a lowly 18th.
Morbidelli quickly fell towards the back of the pack from his seventh position grid spot in the early tours, though the Italian was hushed on what the issue may be when speaking directly after the race, saying only he had hoped Yamaha could cure the ailment before this weekend’s Doha GP due to him not being “on top of the list” of the Japanese manufacturer.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, something was wrong with the bike before the race and it continued during the race also,” explained Morbidelli.
“We need to fix it and analyse what was going on, we need to try and solve the issue as soon as possible.
“I hope so (to cure problem before Doha GP) I’m not on the top of the list for Yamaha at the moment so I don’t know how much they’ll rush to fix this problem but I hope they’ll take it seriously.”
Rossi meanwhile said that problems with his rear tyre were to blame for his slump outside the top ten, the seven-time premier class champion conceding he had “stressed” his rubber too much in the early goings, admitting he was in “quite a lot of trouble” just several laps into the event.
The Italian was at least buoyant about the potential for improvement in this weekend’s second straight contest at the Losail International Circuit, pointing to factory Yamaha counterpart Maverick Vinales’ victory in the Qatar GP with an identical-spec M1 as reason to be optimistic.
“We expected a better race but unfortunately we had a problem with the rear tyre, for some reason I think I stressed it too much which made it lose performance.
“It was a very difficult race because after several laps I was in already in quite a lot of trouble, I expect better but we have another race next week so we need to understand why and look at Vinales because he did a fantastic race with the Yamaha so we need to try and be stronger.
“I think the line (for improvement) is always very small, if we can understand the problem with the rear tyre our potential is not so bad so we hope we can be stronger next weekend.”