Since then, Casey Stoner and his team have found new solutions that have allowed them to make a big step forward and now of course we know that the remaining races will be tough, although we are still leading by 25 points after the excellent win in Laguna Seca.
What is the aim for the rest of the season regarding bike development?
Our competitor's great performances is a big push to all of us to improve our M1 further, maybe even more than we did during last winter. I would especially like to progress the electronic control system and the engine power.
At the moment there is no need to work more on the chassis, although this is something we will have to consider for next season. Lately we have been experiencing some problems with acceleration on the exit of the corner, so we need to work to find better bike geometry and chassis setting alongside the development of the engine control system.
What is your opinion about the electronics in MotoGP now? Do you think the rules need to be changed?
This is a popular discussion at the moment and we are looking at the overall situation; do we need to change the rules? It's true that many riders have crashed this year, including Jorge, who had a very bad series of crashes, and also Dani Pedrosa. The question is if these crashes have something to do with the current bike technology.
We moved from 990cc to 800cc to have safer bikes, but the new bikes have a higher cornering speed and this might present a danger for some riders. I think that we need to do something and the biggest issue is the electronic control system.
In any case, it is clear that we at Yamaha will have to develop a better and better ECS, in order to beat our rivals. I still think that the M1 is best bike out there, although Casey has had a string of very impressive results.
Valentino has re-signed for two more years and has cited his relationship with you as one of the main reasons he will continue with Yamaha. How do you feel about your relationship with him?
The reason I always continue to be confident is because I trust Valentino so much! I like his way of thinking, he is always positive and this rubs off on everyone else. He never complains or criticizes; on the contrary, he is always looking forward and searching for new solutions! He has exactly the same approach to problems as I have.
Valentino always has a positive and logical way of thinking, like me. He has a very good sense of humour, and I like this a lot; I like him as a person very much. The biggest shame is that my age is almost the double his, but the level of thinking is the same! The only difference is that he is just 29. When I was 29, I never thought about tactics and strategies! I have a huge respect for him. He is the genius behind the bike.
What are your mid-season impressions of Jorge?
I like Jorge very much; he is a good guy and a very good rider. Honestly, he is very different than I had expected before he joined Yamaha; I was impressed by his mature attitude and his fluent English. He is a very smart guy, smarter than I expected! He has a big talent as a rider; he is very smooth and very effective. I am sure that in the future he will dominate in MotoGP.