Valentino Rossi finished day one of the Malaysian MotoGP in twelfth position, having been shuffled down the dry FP1 order when rivals fitted soft tyres, then denied the chance to improve by an afternoon storm.

But the wet conditions did allow the Italian to work on the handling woes experienced in such conditions during the recent Motegi round.

Rossi would be sixth fastest in the afternoon, albeit 1.431s behind Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso. Team-mate Maverick Vinales was the top Yamaha with fourth place in both sessions.

"We were quite lucky to ride the bike in the dry because today the forecast was very bad," began Rossi, sat behind a small desk in the Yamaha hospitality. "This morning we had 20-minutes where we could use slicks and push. My feeling in the dry is not so bad. We have to work, but I was quite strong."

Rossi had reached fifth place heading into the closing stages of the session.

"It's very difficult to understand because in the last ten minutes a lot of riders put the soft rear and improved the lap time a lot. But before that, I think except Marquez - who was very strong - I was not so bad with my speed.

"Then in the afternoon it was full wet and an interesting practice because we worked a lot to try to improve the bad situation that we had in Japan with this bike. And was coming better. I was able to improve my lap time and I arrived in P6.

"But my feeling is not fantastic. I don’t feel comfortable with the bike. I don’t have enough rear grip and I cannot push at the maximum. So we have still to work. The situation improved a bit but we are not strong like last year [in the wet] still."

How did the bike feel generally compared with the pre-season test here?

"Different. Very different, because we [change] the bike a lot. But for me the bike that I have now, I feel more comfortable with compared to the bike at the test. Like in Phillip Island. I suffered a lot of understeer [before] and with this bike my riding is more natural. I feel better."

However, Rossi is not yet fully convinced that the present M1 should form the base for the 2018 bike.

"I think that our current bike can be a base for next year, but I'm not sure," he said. "We need to look at our potential this weekend and also during Valencia and also in the Valencia test. But I'm sure anyway in Yamaha they are working hard and will bring something for next year."

Turning to last weekend's epic Phillip Island race, in which Rossi finished runner-up to Marc Marquez, The Doctor made clear he is still good friends with countryman Andrea Iannone despite commenting that a pass by the Suzuki rider had allowed Marquez to escape.

"We have a good relationship. I understand his racing style!" Rossi smiled. "I did some great battles with Iannone - Phillip Island 2015, Valencia last year, Phillip Island... What I said after the [Phillip Island] race, I was not speaking just about Iannone.

"I fight a lot also with Zarco and Marquez. But Iannone made the overtake in the hairpin, the right moment that I was behind Marquez, and at that moment I lose my chance to fight for the victory. But it's like this."

Rossi added that the race had reminded him of some classic two-stroke battles earlier in his career.

"For me the style was like a lot of races with the smaller bikes in Phillip Island. I remember more 2000 and especially 2001 that was a great battle with the 500cc with eight-nine bikes I think. With Haga, Barros, Biaggi, Capirossi.

"So was very similar to that style of racing because when you have a bigger bike it is usually a bit different."

Rossi must now hope for dry conditions in FP3 if he is to break into the combined top ten and avoid taking part in Qualifying 1.

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the doctor still clearly remember a race scene 17 years ago..and still hungry as ever..if VR46 ever retired its his body not his spirit.

Agree, unbelievable fighting spirit, and hunger for results. Pitty that ducati didn't work like this when Rossi was there. Dovi really mature as a driver, and I hope to watch big fight in Sepang

The ducati was a winner bike when rossi got it. The fact that a lot of riders since him struggled doesnt mean anything. yet stoner still could win.

 

the problems rossi and lorenzo have is similar. both of them cant adapt to a bike to make it win. you can start crying how much you want or call me a hater, but we all know lorenzo and rossi need a perfect bike. if they have problems like with the ducati or now sometimes with the yamaha, they re nowhere. stoner could win back then with rossis bike like he could today with lorenzos bike. 

And rossi wouldnt win anything with the ducati, he has the same diva dna like lorenzo. 

UCCIO IS STILL...

You sound desperate and Pathetic. Rossi rode and won a title on a NSR 500 a far cry from a perfect handling bike, your obviously too young to remember so stick to the Marc Marquez thread because your as dumb as a truck. Your just pissed off because Rossi won his titles on three different manufacturers something Marquez will never do. Marquez needs a weak team mate like Pedrosa other wise he will throw a hissy fit. Only Diva in Moto Gp is Marquez! Forcing Honda to drop Stoner because he was faster in every test. Marquez is a Diva and a dirty rider with a career that is tarnished forever.

UCCIO IS STILL... 

Is the biggest Rossi hater on this site, spitting venom non stop! It really is Pathetic. 

UCCIO IS STILL... even the name!!! A Rossi hater of the highest degree and just down right sour because Marquez had to cheat to beat Rossi in 2015. That's Marquezs legacy right there ''A CHEAT''. Pathetic.

You know who is a cheat? The guy that Stoner saud git special overnight tyres from Michelin in mid to late 2000s. Coincidentally its the same guy who was caught on circuit cctv with his team doing illegal grid cleaning at night with scooter burnouts to improve grip for Qatar 2004 race. Pathetic that a cheat like that still has cheerleaders like the likes of you. 

You mean the same NSR500 that dominated GP between Spencer and Doohan? Lol MM and zdani rode Freddies NSR500 on street tyres around Twin Ring Motegi oval at Honda Thanks Day in 2015.. MM even pulled a wheelie on it exiting pitlane. 180hp slow bike compared to modern day GP bikes that push 300hp and lap 5 seconds a lap faster. Heck even CBR600RR spec Moto 2 bikes lap faster thsn the 2002 NSR lap times

Marquez pulled a wheelie on a NSR  500 on street tyres. OMG! No way! I can't get over that! Jesus he really is miraculous! Wow! Just wow! 

I'd still like to see Marquez on a 500 even come within 6 seconds of the modern Gp bikes. 

You are a moron in fairness, comparing Classic 500cc raw power machines to the machines of today. The Moto gp bikes of today are awesome but don't ever compare them to 500 two strokes. Your obviously a kid, so go take a nap!!

SENNAFTW

Everyone on this thread should read what SENNAFTW just said it was idiotic to say the least, he gave away his age, probably only watching GP Racing since 2013. I've being to GPs all over the world and I love 500 two strokes and wish they would come back. How could anyone compare the GP bikes of today to 500 two strokes.

Absolutely Nonsense! Everyone should laugh at SENNAFTW for this.

I think you'll find that there's only one person we are all laughing at.

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