Stability issues proved a major stumbling block for Valentino Rossi at Le Mans, where the Italian rider finished 10th on the time sheets on the opening day of the French MotoGP.
Rossi was 1.1 seconds behind team-mate Jorge Lorenzo after a troubled start and the Movistar Yamaha rider has yet to try all of Michelin's new rear tyre options, made available especially for Sunday's race after wheel-spin problems at Jerez.
The 37-year-old, who won last time out in Spain, said: “It was difficult for me today, especially in the afternoon but also in the morning. We started with some different ideas for the setting and in the morning it was not so bad, but we were not particularly fast.
“We need something and for the afternoon we had some different stuff to try to improve the base, but unfortunately the afternoon practice started in a quite a difficult way because we had one problem with one front tyre, which was out of balance: it made a lot of vibration and we lost a little bit of time,” Rossi explained.
“After, we had something different to try and unfortunately we didn't have something good enough to improve.
“I concentrated on the hard rear but unfortunately it does not have enough grip, so I lose a bit. At the end I used the soft and I was a little bit better but we are very far from the top guys," he added.
“In fact, in the morning I was also quite slow and for this reason I didn't try the third tyre from Michelin, because we didn't have time. I will try it tomorrow morning.”
Asked if he experienced any of the unusual straight-line wheelspin that characterised the Jerez race, Rossi replied:
"With the normal tyre - that I use - on the back straight I had a little bit. it looks like less of a problem here and all of the riders that tried the new [soft rear] tyre said it is a lot better."
One theory is that Rossi's experience of racing with less advanced electronics helped him deal with the high levels of spin in Spain.
"The [new unified] electronics are one step back. We expect more, but at the end it is not a big step. Just a bit less. But the bike become a bit more 'normal' to ride. Also the Michelin tyre has a bit more spin, so you have to control more [with the throttle].
"But I don't know if my experience with 500cc or the 'old' MotoGP makes a difference."
On Thursday evening at Le Mans, Rossi was present for the screening of 'Valentino Rossi: The Doctor Series', Part 1 of which can be seen below:
This is what Rossi had to say about the five-part series...
Are you happy with the series?
"Yes, I am very happy. I always follow what Monster does in terms of content and I really like their video style. When they approached me with the idea, I was sure that it would be something special. The five episodes are really well done. Great shots!"
What part are you most excited for your fans around the world to see, and why?
"The part that I think really shows a unique atmosphere is The Ranch. It's where my Academy riders and I train. But The Ranch is also much more than that. Lots of my friends come there and we always have an amazing time. It's a really special place to me. I think that from the episode on the The Ranch you can really sense how special it is."
You have been around cameras all of your life, but how did it feel having a video crew documenting some of your life away from the track?
"First of all, a vast majority of the cameramen that work in MotoGP are extremely professional so often you don't even realise they are there. I don't pay attention to this anymore. I love re-watching races with my friends and I really appreciate all the production that takes place in the circuit. At home, I need my spaces, so no cameras!"
Who is The Doctor?
"A perfectly normal person!"
You watched old GP races from '80s-'90s on YouTube: does it seem weird that in many years' time people will be watching you in the same way?
"I hope people enjoy watching my old races from the past in the same way as I enjoy watching past races. I think I also had a few good races!"
The series has been made with a special style and flavour: was this important to you?
"I really like watching web videos, especially ones that are about motorsports. I watch a bit of everything, even amateur videos, but when I am in front of a well-produced video, I really appreciate it. The Monster videos in general I really like. The images and shots are always special and the music used is always great."