Rossi encouraged to see Yamaha ‘working harder, in a better way’

Is Valentino Rossi seeing a more positive future with Yamaha in MotoGP following the Austrian MotoGP?

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP

Valentino Rossi says ‘something moved in Yamaha’ during the most recent Austrian MotoGP event at the Red Bull Ring in comments that will encourage the manufacturer following his muted appraisal of the recent 2020 Yamaha M1 test.

The seven-time premier class World Champion finished fourth in Austria for his best MotoGP result since his podium at the Circuit of The Americas back in round three, lifting him back ahead of Maverick Vinales in the fight for top Yamaha rider.

The stronger result elicited a similarly positive response from Rossi, who believes Yamaha has listened to his concerns about the Yamaha M1’s top speed and acceleration deficit to Honda and Ducati to bring the changes he wants.

“We are quite happy especially because it looks like the second half of the season start in a better way,” he explained. “The first one we had very, very negative races.

“[But] It looks like something moved in Yamaha and Yamaha started to work harder and in a better way to improve the bike. When we arrived here on Friday we understand that we make a step in the electronics and acceleration and we can be more competitive because we always suffer at this track.

“So, this is the most important thing. For sure we have a lot of work to do, because especially Dovi and Marquez with the factory Ducati and Honda are faster than us but it’s a good way to restart.

“Now we have a week of rest after two races in row. After we have Silverstone. I hope for good weather because I like a lot the track and it looks like with the new asphalt with better grip and less bump we can be strong with the Yamaha.”

Respite for Yamaha after Rossi’s cool response to 2020 bike

Rossi had the opportunity to sample the early prototype of its 2020 specification Yamaha M1 during the Brno one-day test. Officially speaking this was Yamaha looking to get a big jump on Honda and Ducati in terms of 2020 bike development, but – unofficially – many feel it was an audition to Rossi to prove a more complete package was in the pipeline.

However, Rossi – whilst pleased to be looking ahead so early in the year – wasn’t singing its praises when asked about it during the Austrian event either saying:

“The first touch with the new prototype of the bike, it doesn’t change a lot but for me it is good to start work. It is very good we start to see what is better and worse. It was quite positive.”

The looming threat from within

Yamaha now has eight months to get the bike up to a standard that would see it challenging for more regular wins. The Iwata marque has won just six races since the start of 2017, with three of those coming within the first five races of that year, while Rossi has managed just one in that time to Vinales’ five.

Currently fifth and sixth in the standings respectively, Rossi and Vinales are split by just a single point. However, they face the looming threat of Fabio Quartararo on the satellite Petronas SRT bike, whose third podium in five races places the rookie just 11 points off the Italian legend.