17 February 2016
Phillip Island Test: Rossi: Michelin feeling different, Cadalora in corner
Valentino Rossi believes Michelin's dry tyres don't offer the same feeling as they did in Sepang, has Luca Cadalora in pit to see if “he can give advice.”
On a day of intermittent rain, Valentino Rossi came to recognise the feeling offered by Michelin's dry tyres around a blustery Phillip Island was quite different to what he experienced in Sepang.
Like the rest of the MotoGP field, Rossi's time on a dry track was extremely limited by unpredictable weather on the first day of testing at the spectacular seaside venue.
The Italian's first impressions were that the French rubber didn't offer the same feeling in corner entry while the balance between the front and rear tyre was different again.
“It's very important to come to Phillip Island with the Michelin because in Sepang the situation was very good,” said Rossi, who ended the day sixth, 1.3 seconds off the fastest time. “We had a very good feeling from the beginning. We can go fast.
“It looks like here we need to work more on the bike more to modify more. This is the first impression. I did seven or eight laps. It looks like the feeling here is different.
“It's very important for me to understand at the three very different tracks, like Sepang, Phillip Island and Qatar to have an idea on what can happen during the season.
"It's early to say so we are hoping tomorrow and Friday we can have a full day to try to understand our potential and the potential of the M1 here with the Michelin.”
At the beginning of February riders had commented on how the batch of tyres Michelin brought to Sepang had similar properties to the Bridgestone predecessors, which were notable for their stellar front end grip.
However, in Australia the recently-turned 37-year old commented that the selection available to the riders had different traction characteristics, which suggests Michelin's grip characteristics could vary from track to track.
“Now also the slick has changed. In Sepang Michelin bring to us a different front tyre that gave us a lot more feeling compared to last year. Also we modify the bike and we improve the feeling.
“The entry [and] the balance between front and rear [is different to Sepang]. Also the Michelin have a good traction but it changed more compared to Sepang.”
Like in Sepang, Rossi alternated between a machine that was similar to his '15 spec and the new machine, one that “is more different. From his early impressions, the 2015 runner up preferred the bike that resembled last year's machine, which he dubbed “the more normal one.”
Wednesday's test in Australia was also notable for Rossi, who had countryman and former 500cc grand prix winner Luca Cadalora in his garage throughout the day.
Cadalora, who often tests an R1 at Misano with Rossi, offers excellent technical feedback and the nine-time world champion admitted his fellow Italian's presence is a test to see “if he can give me some advice.”
“We spend time together during the last year because we go to Misano with the R1,” continued Rossi. “Luca have the same R1 like mine so we prepare the bike together. Also he come to the ranch. From that moment the idea was born. [I said] 'Why don't you come to the test' because we try to understand if he can give to me some advice.
“I never have experience from this point of view and we don't have a clear programmer for the future. We will see. We will decide what will happen. I like it. First of all Luca have a great passion for motorcycles but he's also a very technical rider. When he race he was like this. He was very good for the setting and everything. Maybe yes, why not? We will see.”
Rossi's team-mate and reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo works closely with former Grand Prix racer Wilco Zeelenberg.
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