Valentino Rossi has admitted that he expected more from Yamaha's new engine, but nonetheless hailed Tuesday as “a positive day” after posting the second fastest time at the MotoGP test at Valencia.
A new motor and chassis were among the new parts on Rossi's checklist throughout the day, but a crash around lunchtime ruined the frame. The Italian was thus forced to spend the remainder of the afternoon on the old one.
Still there were reasons to be positive. A time of 1m 30.950s was just 0.02s slower than the best lap of the day. Furthermore that time is 0.329s quicker than his fastest race lap, posted on the way to fourth place on Sunday.
“It's a positive day, because I'm second and the lap time is not so bad,” began the nine-time world champion.
“But I did it with the old bike. Before, we tried the new engine, which sincerely is not fantastic, I expected more. But we don't improve a lot. It's just the first version, but we have to work.
“And the chassis, the first feeling was OK, but after, unfortunately I crash, because I put the hard front, which for our bike has not enough grip.
“But unfortunately I crash with the new chassis, so I damaged the bike and I don't have time to retry. So now the guys work, and I will try the new chassis another time tomorrow. We'll see.”
Asked to clarify his thoughts on the new engine, he added, “I expected better, but there is not a lot of difference.”
Perhaps one cause for concern for Rossi was the speed of new team-mate Maverick Viñales. The 21-year old sparkled on his debut aboard the M1, posting the fastest time of the day.
Furthermore, Jorge Lorenzo was just a place behind the Italian in third, suggesting a mouth-watering season lies ahead in 2017.
Asked if either rider's speed was unexpected, Rossi said, “For me, unexpected? No.
“Viñales is first, so is a great debut, but I expected he would be fast from the beginning. Also Lorenzo is good, but also Iannone is fast from the first laps. So I think that very positive first day from them.”