Rossi: New engine positive... but not enough

Valentino Rossi describes the first day of the 2019 preseason as ‘positive’ but feels one of Yamaha’s new engines still stresses the rear tyre too much.
Rossi: New engine positive... but not enough

Valentino Rossi has stressed the need for Yamaha to continue working on its 2019 M1 after a “positive” first day of MotoGP testing at Valencia saw him finish with the third fastest time.

Both the Italian and team-mate Maverick Viñales spent the day making comparisons between their 2018 engine, another “evolution” and little else, as Yamaha attempts to avoid repeating its critical mistake of this year.

Rossi revealed the factory Yamaha men have another ‘evolution’ motor to sample on Wednesday, too, as the factory bids to challenge for a MotoGP world crown again, a feat it has been unable to do since 2016.

And while Rossi noted the ‘evolution’ engine was “more soft, more smooth” with an engine braking setting that changed the M1’s behaviour in corner entry - “[It] becomes more easy to ride and you can be more constant" - there is still a good deal of work ahead.



The 39-year old was unwilling to go overboard with praise. “It’s not enough,” he said, pointing to how today’s set-up continued to stress the rear tyre too much after five laps. Judging by his words, Yamaha is not out of the woods just yet.

“In the end it was a positive day. We don’t have a lot of time but at the end I was able to do 40 laps and make the most important work of the day that is compare the engine.

“We have one evolution engine that we already tried during the season. And we compared with the standard engine. It’s not so bad because it helps to stress less the tyre and at the end it’s a good work.

“We always suffer about tyre degradation so we try to make an engine that is more smooth, more soft to try to stress less the tyre. It was not so bad because my lap time was quite good. I have a good feeling for the first day.”

On the engine braking, he said, “The engine change also in the engine brake, in the entry. It’s a small help because become more easy to ride and you can be more constant. Also in acceleration it’s more or less the same.

“We try to have a more soft character to spin less and it’s already a help. But for me it’s not enough. We suffer too much with the rear tyre degradation. It’s also true that today the conditions were very bad and the tyre normally suffer in these conditions.

“It looks like already after some laps we slide too much. So we need to continue to work, but it looks like we take a good direction.

“Today we try one [engine]. Tomorrow we have another one which is a bit similar but different. The plan tomorrow, the most important thing is to try the different spec.

“For me these two tests are not crucial. But they’re important. We have time to choose the engine before next February. But at this test we can give a good indication to work more in one way. So this is our first target here and at Jerez.”

And Yamaha has brought little else to try except the two new engines? “For me we are OK, we are good,” referring to the 2018 chassis. “For the moment we don’t have nothing but I think anyway Yamaha work always in the chassis, swingarm and everything.

"For me we have to improve also there but the main issue is the engine.”