27 February 2013
Rossi loses balance in traction search
"We were able to improve the traction a bit, but we lost the good balance of the M1. So we paid a high price" – Valentino Rossi.
On paper Valentino Rossi experienced his worst day of 2013 MotoGP testing, at Sepang on Wednesday.
The Italian star repeated his opening day ranking of fifth, but dropped 0.783s from the fastest lap time, set by Yamaha team-mate and reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo.
Rossi had previously been no further than 0.489s from the front during four days at the Malaysian circuit, beginning at the opening test in early February.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom for The Doctor, who again had to overcome technical problems with one of his machines and rode for more than three grand prix race distances.
"At the end I'm quite happy especially because it was a very long day, more than 60 laps, so we were able to complete extra work," said Rossi, speaking at Sepang on Wednesday evening.
"Unfortunately we had some technical problems this morning. Similar to yesterday, an electric problem which made us lose some time. Then we just worked with one bike. But anyway this can happen in a test."
The knock-on effect of the delays was that Rossi didn't have both his bikes in full 2013 spec, as had been planned. Those will now be available for Thursday's final day.
Out on track, Rossi explained that his main target had been to improve traction on worn tyres, but that he had "paid a high price".
"I am not 100 per cent happy, because we tried to improve traction on the exit of the corner when the tyres have more than ten laps," said Rossi. "We were able to improve a bit, but we lost the good balance of the M1. So we paid a high price to improve the traction.
"For tomorrow the target will be to improve the traction without losing the balance, which is very good [with the original set-up]. You can ride the bike very well, but we spin a little too much on the exit from the corners.
"That is the main target but I also hope to improve on my lap time from the first test and also to do a race simulation [for the first time since returning to Yamaha]."
Rossi will need to reduce his Wednesday lap time by half-a-second to beat his Sepang I best.
Despite his position on the timesheets, Rossi felt he is still in touch with most of the frontrunners - except Lorenzo.
"My pace was nothing fantastic today, but the other guys are close," he said. "The difference today was Lorenzo, especially his pace: [2m] 00s, 00, 00, 00, 00... F**k!"
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