Valentino Rossi: Yamaha MotoGP squad now moving in ‘good direction’

Valentino Rossi believes his fourth place in the Austrian Grand Prix shows that Yamaha are now heading in a “good direction”.

The nine-time premier class champion has struggled for form in recent races,  having failed to breach the top six since Le Mans prior to last weekend’s Czech GP at Brno.

He managed to take top Yamaha honours in the Czech race with sixth overall and, despite being beaten by satellite Yamaha rookie Fabio Quartararo, was a strong fourth at the Red Bull Ring ahead of factory team-mate Maverick Vinales- just 7.7 seconds from the race-winning Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso.

Rossi also remains the highest Yamaha in the rider’s standings, just a solitary point clear of Vinales and 11 ahead of Quartararo.

The Yamaha M1 has shown much improved form so far this year compared to the last couple of seasons, in which the Japanese manufacturer has suffered somewhat of a slump having scored just three wins since early 2017.

Vinales defeated Marc Marquez for victory in the Dutch TT at Assen, while Quartararo has managed to secure three pole positions and three rostrums in his debut MotoGP season.

Rossi tested some new prototype parts for next year’s M1 at the post-race Brno test last week-including a development engine- but said they didn’t feel “massively different”.

Despite this the Italian is hopeful for the future development of the bike, and believed his Austria showing proves this.

“Yeah it’s not so bad, it’s a good result after quite a good weekend, we have to suffer quite a bit more here due to the track layout but already on Friday morning we were more competitive compared to the past,” said Rossi.

“This was good as I was able to recover some positions at the beginning after starting from tenth on the grid, but unfortunately some guys in front of me were a bit faster, especially Marquez and Dovizioso but also Quartararo.

“Anyway the fourth place is still good, Vinales and Rins were able to recover at the end but luckily I was able stay ahead so it was a good race.

“We have a lot of work to do, but it looks like something has changed since the summer break and now Yamaha are moving in a good direction, we have a lot of races to go and hopefully Silverstone will have good weather and with the new asphalt we hope to be strong.”