Rossi, Vinales give Yamaha’s 2020 MotoGP engine muted response

Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales aren't bowled over by the latest update to the 2020 Yamaha M1 as both hope for more of a step forward in Misano

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP

Yamaha’s preparations for the 2020 MotoGP season ramped up a notch on Thursday as it continued to develop its new engine, even if riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales appeared less than enthused on first impressions. 

A month after Yamaha gave the first prototype of the 2020 Yamaha M1 a maiden public run in Brno, the manufacturer brought an updated engine to this week’s Misano MotoGP test for both Rossi and Vinales to try.

Coming after Rossi in particular offered a fairly lukewarm response to the 2020 M1 in what was seen as an ‘audition’ for Yamaha to convince the MotoGP legend to stay with the team beyond his 2020 deal, the feedback for the engine was also fairly muted.

Indeed, though both Vinales and Rossi suggested there is potential, it wasn’t the step forward they were hoping for on a bike that has consistently struggled to match its rivals in terms of acceleration and top speed for the past three seasons

"We are in a good way, but we need to improve more. It's not the big step we need, but it’s in the right direction," Rossi is reported as commenting by our sister publication 

“We need to keep working, it's not the step I think we could make," Vinales added.

Still work to do for Yamaha as carbon swingarm debuts

Though Yamaha filled four of the top five positions on the timesheets after the first day of testing in Italy – headed up by the satellite Petronas SRT bikes of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli – Rossi and Vinales’ reaction will not be what it wanted to hear.

Yamaha has come under increasing pressure to adopt an approach more aligned with Honda and Ducati, which have prioritised speed over handling agility. Indeed, the Yamaha M1’s cornering ability is considered to be the strongest on the grid, but riders feel it cannot counteract the straight-line limitations at the majority of the tracks.

Even so, Yamaha is set to belatedly ‘join’ the carbon fibre swingarm club after it was tested fully by Rossi at Misano, the Italian hinting it will make its race debut next weekend.

Honda, Aprilia and KTM have each recently adopted the carbon approach, following Ducati which has run it since 2009. When Yamaha switches over, it will leave Suzuki as the last remaining aluminium swingarm user. 

"I asked for it a lot of times,” Rossi continued. “I think the carbon swingarm can help us, so I hope Yamaha bring it as soon as possible. I think that in not a long time we can see it…"

Rossi has not won a MotoGP race since the 2017 Dutch MotoGP at Assen, whereas Vinales has won in 2019, at the same venue. The Spaniard leads his team-mate by two points in the overall standings in fourth and sixth respectively.