Valentino Rossi will not use Yamaha's new chassis from now after tests during free practice at Assen confirmed his preference for the frame he was using before the shakedown in Barcelona just under three weeks ago.
Third in the world championship coming to the Netherlands, Rossi was second fastest on Friday after two sessions spent sampling the new chassis that was given to both he and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo at the post-race test in Barcelona.
But Rossi was conclusive in his assessment on Friday evening; he would not be using the new chassis from now on.
“In Barcelona we tried a different chassis, but I wasn't very sure about the improvement,” said the nine-time world champion. “So today we compared another time in another track, and in the end, I prefer the standard chassis, because I have a better front feeling.
“From tomorrow I will use the standard one. It's not a big difference, though. It's just a small modify, but I prefer the normal one.”
Pressed on the differences between the two frames, Rossi couldn't reveal a great deal. “I cannot explain very much. We try to work to improve the feeling with the Michelin, with the front. We gain something where we think, but unfortunately, we lose in the stability, and I prefer the normal one.”
Around a circuit at which he was victorious in 2015, Rossi ended Friday's FP2 just 0.004s off Andrea Iannone's fastest time. Overall, he said, it was a “good day.”
“At the end is a good day for us, because this morning we struggled more in the morning practice. We had some more problems, but for the afternoon, we modified the bike and modified the balance, and we made a good step forward. We made a good modify. So in the practice of the afternoon I feel good with the bike and I was quite competitive from the beginning to the end.
“But we have a lot of work to do for sure, because here in Assen, you need a very good balanced bike, to have a good stability and turning, especially in the fast part. With the soft tire at the end, I think that more or less everybody used the soft at the end, because everybody is worried about the weather tomorrow, about staying in the top ten.
“With the soft tyre, the bike worked very well and I did a very good lap. Unfortunately, at the end, Iannone beat me just by four thousandths, but I was competitive.
“With the hard tyres, everything become a little bit more difficult and my pace is not so bad. I am quite fast, quite constant, but have four or five riders very strong, so we need to work, especially on that to try to improve the pace some tenths to be a bit faster. We wait for tomorrow hoping for good conditions and good weather.”
On the chance of rain on Saturday Rossi added, “I prefer 100% the dry. Here in Assen, the forecast is always very difficult. So I hope very much for a dry race. But now is quite bad for Sunday.
“Is a great shame, because it looks like tomorrow is OK, if we race in a normal Saturday, we can have a dry race, but we will try to be competitive also on the wet. For sure we have to try a little bit, because we have not made a lot of kilometers with the Michelin in the wet.”