Yamaha's Valentino Rossi improved from ninth to fifth on the final day of MotoGP
testing at the Red Bull Ring.
But the top four places were once again filled by Ducati riders and Rossi - who was left 0.929s from Andrea Iannone - fears the Desmosedicis could again be out of reach during the Austrian race weekend, from August 12-14.
“It is a particular type of track,” Rossi explained. “Very, very fast and you stay a lot of time at full throttle. There are just nine corners but sincerely speaking I like the track and it's good to ride.
“But unfortunately on the performance side it is not our track, because usually we suffer a bit with top speed and in the straight we lose quite a lot.
“We were able to improve the lap times and our position today and we're a little bit closer to the top guys. But it will be a very difficult race, especially with some of our factory rivals; they are faster than us.
“It will be very important to also understand the potential of the other competitors, because [Repsol Honda] are not here. It will be interesting to see if we are a little bit faster or slower than them, but we'll have to wait for the race weekend.”
Team director Massimo Meregalli added: “It was very important we came here, so we could start preparing the race at a place for which we didn't have any kind of information. We made an improvement from yesterday to the end of today. We invested a lot of time in bettering the setting, the chassis and also the electronics and we did quite a lot of work for Michelin as well.
“This circuit doesn't look like it will be one of Yamaha's favourites, this kind of track lay out doesn't play into our strengths. It will be fundamental that our Japanese engineers at Yamaha Motor Company study the data during these two days so we can come back here with some good solutions.”
Rossi is the only current premier class rider to have raced at the circuit before, securing his first ever grand prix podium at the Red Bull Ring in the 1996 125cc event.
“I raced here in '96-'97 - a lifetime ago! - but the track was the same and it's a great feeling [to be back],” Rossi said. “There are a lot of fans and people around just for a test, so I think for the grand prix there can be a big crowd. This is important.”
Nevertheless, like many riders, the Italian would like run-off to be improved in some areas of the circuit:
“For me have two places that are too dangerous; the exit of the last corner and also the exit from Turn 7. Not enough room. We spoke, but I think there is no way to modify to have more room.”
Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was just 0.025s slower than Rossi for sixth on the Wednesday timesheets.
“Compared to yesterday, today was better, because by riding all day the track was gaining grip," Lorenzo said. "We also tried many things on the bike and some of them improved, so again I could go a little bit faster. Finally we were not 1.4s from the fastest one, but nine tenths.
“It's a little improvement and we are still far behind, but let's see if we can do another step in the race weekend. We will have to see what the weather does and which tyres Michelin will bring for the GP.
“Maybe they won't bring the tyres that we tried here. Let's see if they have less grip or suffer more graining. The one they keep may not be the best, but should be safer for a long race.”
Lorenzo and Rossi are second and third in the world championship, but now 48 and 59 points from Marc Marquez, who did not test.
for full Wednesday test times.
By Peter McLaren