Valentino Rossi feels he is edging ever closer to defeating the dominant MotoGP force that is Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez.
Rossi, speaking after the official post-race test at Catalunya, admitted that the Spanish sensation is presently 'a little bit unbeatable', but the Movistar Yamaha rider believes he is slowly but surely devising a strategy to beat the reigning world champion.
The Italian star, who was 10th fastest during the test, which was headed by Marquez, said: “For me yesterday Dani [Pedrosa] was a little bit faster than Marc, but Marc was able to win anyway, which means in this moment he is a little bit unbeatable and has the situation under control.
“Marc is always very fast, but this time with Pedrosa was a little bit more difficult because at two or three points Pedrosa was a little bit faster.
“But anyway, Marc was very strong in the last part of the race and is very brave and very decisive with everybody, especially with Pedrosa, and for this reason for Marc it is very positive,” he added.
“Everybody on the last lap has some different strategy and I think the good part of Marc is that he reacts very fast to everything and to mistakes and different problems, so for this reason he is very hard to beat, but we are not too far.”
Rossi and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo focused on experimenting with a new exhaust system during the test plus Yamaha's new 2015 engine and a new front tyre from Bridgestone.
“We had some important stuff to try and the priority was the different pipes, especially because we can use them already at the next race,” said the nine-time world champion.
“[There was] not a big difference but not too bad; maybe we can use in Assen and now we will decide together if we want to try them.
“We started some work on next year because we have a different engine, which is good with more power, but the bike became a little bit more difficult to control,” he added.
“There is more power at the top, but when you go full throttle the bike moves a bit more, so you have a small advantage but you have to fight more with the bike.
“[We tried] something with the engine brake and also the front tyre from Bridgestone, which is very good. This is important because when it is hot we have to use the '34', which is a difficult tyre, but this one is to replace it and it is a good step.”
Rossi also revealed that he hopes to put pen to paper on a new deal to continue riding for Yamaha soon, saying: “I hope in the next week to fix everything, to sign the contract; there is no surprise and we are already okay, more or less.”
His fastest lap of 1m 42.174s was 0.990s down on the day's top time set by Marquez.