Once again in trouble due to low-grip conditons at Valencia, Valentino Rossi and Movistar Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales felt they had little to lose by making a surprise last-minute switch to the 2016 chassis for race day.

That was the same design that Tech 3 star Johann Zarco took to second on the grid and went on to lead for 25 of the 30 race laps.

But for the factory riders, starting seventh (Rossi) and 13th (Vinales), the change meant sacrificing two days of set-up work and starting from scratch in morning warm-up.

"Yesterday night we changed the chassis, we take a chassis from 2016 to try to understand the way," said Rossi, speaking in the Valencia paddock on Sunday evening.

"We did this because the programme was to try the [2016] bike at the test on Tuesday and Wednesday anyway. So we said, 'why don’t we try today?'

"For sure it was a risky choice, but with my [2017] bike we know more-or-less where we are and sometimes in a race you can understand more than in ten days of testing."

Despite Zarco's form, there would be no transformation in results for the factory riders during the grand prix.

Rossi finished the season finale in fifth - gaining places when the factory Ducatis crashed, but being passed by Suzuki's Alex Rins - while Vinales was a cautious twelfth after rear tyre vibrations.

Both were sure the 2016 chassis gave a better feeling, but with it - Rossi cautioned - came a recurrence of rear tyre degradation issues.

"Unfortunately, it is not like you put [the 2016 chassis] and everything is better," Rossi explained.

"It is quite difficult to improve the bike a lot in just one day and at the end I think it was more-or-less the race that I could do with my [2017] bike from yesterday. We are in big, big trouble with the tyres, we don't have grip and it is very difficult to ride.

"But I think we understand something interesting.

"This [2016] bike is easier to ride and you feel better in general. Sincerely, it is what I felt last year when I tried [the 2016 alongside] the new one! But it is also true that we are more in trouble with rear tyre degradation [with the 2016]. So we have some other problem.

"I did the meeting with the Japanese and they are worried like me. But sincerely I don't understand which one [2016 or 2017] will be the base for next year's bike.

"Something strange that we don't understand is that I was 20-seconds slower than last year, with the same tyres and same chassis. But it is also very strange to understand why the race was 15-seconds slower than last year, considering the conditions are exactly the same."

Looking to the future, Rossi said further back-to-back chassis comparisons are likely during this week's official test.

"Now will be a very important period to try to improve before the next championship," Rossi said.

"For me, we have to work in different areas to reduce the gap. Electronics side, but also about the dynamic behaviour of the bike. So it will be an important period for sure. I will try to give all my support. I think - and especially I hope - that we can recover."

Rossi lost out on fourth in the world championship to race winner Dani Pedrosa.


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Zarco..........how good is he.

Zarco is good with worn out rear tyre so it is easy for him to ride the bike whereas Rossi &Vin needs stable rearend for their riding style. 


Its all all about what the rider likes. 

How long have you really been watching motogp for? Rossi is king of low traction. That's why he has way more wins than poles, and battles to the end of the races. It's when the tyre compounds are too soft that he lacks pace relative to Lorenzo etc

Well if everything was the same,track temp,air temp,humidity,wind and the entire field was 20 seconds slower,there are only ! few things that can explain it,the few things that all the bikes have in common,which is fuel,tyres,ecu and a few others,and out of them,I would go for tyres.

I'm also confused with all yams chassis swapping,I thought they said that new engine could not be fitted in 2016 chassis,but they seemed to have done so,so it's old chassis with new engine etc, where as zarco etc are running old chassis and old engine etc.I'm sure yam could ask tech3 if they could borrow zarcos bike for one day at the rest,set it up for finales or Rossi pretty quickly,put as close to the same set up on the bikes v and r did this weekend's friday/Saturday on and see what the differences are,I have a feeling Rossi quicker and happier on old zarco bike,vinales possibly preceding this year's.

Some how yam have to explain the awful tyre wear differences between the bikes,which has cost then dearly this season,they seem to have suffered wider extremes of tyre performance than other teams did this season,but if it was up to me,Michelin would be told,you design a build one decent set of "standard" tyres for next season,stop the attempts at custom tyres for every weekend end,if you cannot manage that,your out of MotoGP,I'm sure one of the other rubber firms would be happy to take over supply of tyres,and they would be hard pushed to make as bad a job as Michelin seem to have done lately..

Rossi's ex bike is currently Folgers bike.Also last year at Sepang with  more water laps was faster than this year.So who is checking Michelin standard ..Answer is: nobody as Dorna made rules. As Michelin saying their goal is to brake speed records of Bridgestone  is possible that Michelin are making tyres softer than it should be so japanese are confused. Are they suppling same tyres for all but slightly special for some. Are last year and this year tyres the same really. But we can ask ,answers will not come. Bread and circuses for masses .


same tyre options for all.

Is it possible to put 2017 engine to 2016 chassis? Or they use 2016 engine?

This is what I was wondering...

The initial 2017 chassis wasn't really an issue as it dominated pre-season and early season.

It's when they changed it to a hybrid between the 2016 and 2017 effectively the 2016 chassis with 2017 engine mounting positions, a quick bodge.

From there they've thrown chassis at it, like 2011/2012 Ducati, not actually testing or developing it but looking for a quick fix.

They should've stuck with Vinales and the early season chassis as they had a hand in the fihgt for the title and let Valentino pick his own chassis, I don't see why they have to use the same. Essentially they threw away their chances after LeMans.

The engine is the problem,It has more power and puts more stress on the tire,something inside the engine is the problem,less mechanical grip that needs more electronics wich are not up tot the job.


No disrespect to the current guy, but surely Yamaha need an experienced top line test rider that can really offer valuable input when testing all these 16/17 chassis/engine combo's they've had this year. Ducati has Stoner, KTM has experience in the form of Kallio, both bikes have made big moves forward this year.