Rossi 'optimistic' after Yamaha 'bit lost' for two years

'In the last two years we were a little bit lost but now we have a direction, we are more optimistic' – Valentino Rossi, Sepang MotoGP test.
Rossi 'optimistic' after Yamaha 'bit lost' for two years

Yamaha are not there yet, but Valentino Rossi can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of making the M1 a regular victory contender once again.

Speaking at the end of this week's opening 2019 test at Sepang - where the Italian set the tenth fastest lap time (+0.916s), but was closer to the top on race pace - Rossi explained that, while there is plenty of work to do, "we have a direction" after being "a bit lost" for the past two years.

"The test was so bad because, for me, the bigger thing I'm happy [about] is that in the last two years we were a little bit lost - Yamaha worked, we tried some things, but always… we don't know. Better, worse. We don't know [why]," said the soon to be 40-year-old.

"This time we tried some things that improved, some things that were worse, but it is like now we have a direction. So we need time, because our opponents are very strong, but we are more optimistic."

Rossi added that he was "happy about the atmosphere and especially about the ideas inside the team, because it looks like Yamaha are concentrating very hard to improve. This is important."

But reflecting on the all-Ducati top four at the test, Rossi admitted: "In the time attack, the Ducatis were incredible. Also we don't have Marquez [pushing for a fast lap here] because of the shoulder.

"So in the 'hot lap' we suffer. About the pace, it looks like we are a bit closer [see below]. But I'm quite worried still, if we race tomorrow I think that we suffer because we have something else to improve."

Rossi said that the main areas for further work are acceleration and power delivery, having seen first-hand where they are losing when he got to follow Ducati test leader Danilo Petrucci on the final day.

"Acceleration on the exit from the corner, they [Ducati] are very fast. Looks like they ride very well. I was behind Petrucci and they are faster constantly," Rossi said.

"But as the first test it's not so bad. The Qatar [test] is in ten days so I don't think for Qatar we can get something new. But it is another track, another temperature, so it will be interesting to understand."

Rossi also gave a thumbs-up to the revised Michelin tyre compounds on offer at the test, which are set to be used during the 2019 season.

"I tried the new tyres and they are interesting, especially one front and one rear are better than the old. So I hope that we can have them as soon as possible."

Team-mate Maverick Vinales, who took Yamaha's only race win of 2018 at Phillip Island, was best of the rest behind the Ducatis in fifth.