Valentino Rossi returned to the scene of his 'worst Yamaha test' as Friday practice got underway for the Australian MotoGP.

The Italian had been twelfth fastest (+0.921s) on combined times at the same Phillip Island circuit in February, a position he repeated on day one of the grand prix weekend.

"For me, the test in Phillip Island in February with the 2017 bike was one of the worst tests in my career with Yamaha," said Rossi, speaking in the paddock on Friday evening.

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"It was very frustrating, I was very slow and the feeling with the bike was very bad.

"Today the situation, the position, is not fantastic but I feel a lot better [than the test]. I had a good pace with the medium tyre and we worked a lot on the bike. At the end when I put the soft rear tyre we wanted to try to make another [set-up] test, but unfortunately it didn't work.

"I didn't feel good so I wasn't able to improve my time, but already with the first setting I think that I can go faster if I put the softer tyre. We concentrated more on the medium tyre today, but it looks like the soft has a bigger potential and can be an option for the race.

"Now tomorrow morning will be very, very crucial because it's very important to try to be inside the top ten and go directly into Qualifying 2. So we hope for dry conditions and good weather."

Rossi lapped 0.752s from surprise fastest man Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and was the third best Yamaha after factory team-mate Maverick Vinales (+0.198, fifth) and Tech 3's Johann Zarco (+0.442s, eighth).

Where does he need to improve on Saturday?

"I don't have a very good balance like I want, so I'm not so fast in the fast corners," Rossi replied. "I tried, but I don't have the feeling, especially on the front. So we need to improve that."

Rossi added that while it will be "difficult" to win on Sunday, "we are not so far and for sure we won’t give up and will try the maximum. I feel not so bad with the bike, so if I'm able to fix some corners we can improve."

Phillip Island is Rossi's third event since returning from a broken leg, an injury that effectively sunk his title hopes.

With the championship now mathematically impossible for the #46, would he like Yamaha to use the remaining rounds to work on the bike for next year?

"For us nothing has changed because we continue to work and I continue to say what I think on the bike," Rossi said. "But sincerely we don't have new stuff for try.

"In Yamaha they understand that at the moment it's difficult, so they already work. But I don't know if we can see something new at the end of this season or at the February test."

With three rounds remaining, Rossi is fifth in the world championship now just two points from Dani Pedrosa.

Rain showers are forecast for both Saturday and Sunday.

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the modern M1 is an odd bike

May be this season yamaha have worst bike, but we can see MV can hamdle it better than VR... But ofcourse everything depend how we see..  In my mind VR is decrease of his performance...

Isn't that an unwritten curse that most  software upgrade sucks that the users prefer to use the older version. 
Android mobiles used to be like that many times & I stopped updating it or change to entirely new version. 

Crashdotnet really sucks these days, older version was too good to forget. It used to have instant articles for session results in most times than not, now I mostly get FP1 motogp results here when FP2 is almost underway. Voting buttons for comments just sits there like a dummy without a functionality. No separate page for comments, loading next 10 comments would mean loading the entire article page together with all the annoying advts, thankfully I got an Add block otherwise I would be in a deep shit every time wasting much data that isn't worth reading comments. Who even needs text formatting options to post plain text comments, I also wonder how many made use of link,  pic, gif attaching options, really unnecessary complications. Wanted to tell these for a long time but waited to if further works could fix these issues but enough is enough. 

Yamaha has joined crashdotnet in bringing uncharacteristically shitty upgrades. 2015 M1 was a perfect package overall baring topspeed, aimed at fixing that with powerful engine hampered the pace in end of race by too much tyre eating in 2016, trying to regain the pace in end of race without affecting it's original strength was a failed mission as Yamaha now struggles in wet & extreme hot  conditions. These used to be the conditions were Rossi would thrive on in past years. New chassis to rectify this new problem brought back the problems of 2016 & now that bike is a complete mess. 2003, pre Rossi era was the last time a Yamaha bike was not in title contention. Yamaha needs to regroup things fast. Before this year Rossi rarely suffer crashes by losing the rear, this year his two DNFs has come from rear losing. Don't think he is pushing too much but story of the present Michelin era for Yamaha has been about Problem with rear end in one way or the other. Michelin was thought to have superior rear grip as opposed to superior fronts of Bridgestone. Appears like Yamaha put their first foot wrong interms of understating Michelin, they tried to judge too much too quick I guess, remember only Yamaha tried a radically new bike to adapt to Michelin, investing focus on that during 2016 pre season & ditching that bike eventually sank Yamaha's title chances last year as half year's development work went down the drain. 
Yamaha usually goes for gradual evolution & they rolled their dice for a sudden revolution kind of approach for Michelin is when things started to go wrong, yamaha is still recovering from that. Yamaha basically needs a brand new bike for 2018 not a evolved version of 2017. Michelin now has vastly improved front grip that what it was thought to possess initially in 2016.

Since Crash messed up this site you'll notice that they give dates in the American way...ie the month before the day. Puzzling change !!