Valentino Rossi and his Monster Yamaha crew 'pushed hard' to go their own way with bike set-up, before ending the Italian's 17-race podium drought at Andalucia last weekend.

Rossi had been caught in a Catch-22 situation heading in to round two.

Uncomfortable with the weight balance used to great success by Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo, the Italian was in turn not fast enough to convince Yamaha that it was the bike and not his riding style that needed to change.

But a lacklustre season-opening race, ending with an engine failure while in tenth place, seems to have been the final straw. The nine-time world champion later called it "too bad to be real".

In response, according to Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis, Rossi and his crew successfully campaigned for a radical change at round two on the basis of 'nothing to lose'.

"Vale was very disappointed after the first weekend. We decided to change something, he really wanted to try it because there was nothing to lose," Jarvis told BT Sport.

"But changing the mind sometimes of Japanese engineers is not so simple. Because we have a lot of data and information [for the current set-up] and the other guys are going fast, so why go in this different direction?"

Jarvis added: "You've got other guys going quicker - obviously Fabio and Maverick, but also Frankie - and most of our Yamahas have got a pretty similar range of settings. The zone they are working in is pretty much common.

"But Vale struggled to get to grips with that, to feel comfortable and make it work for him during the last one and a half seasons I would say."

That timeline roughly coincides with Vinales hailing a performance breakthrough after shifting weight towards the rear of his M1 at the 2018 Buriram round.

Rossi confirmed weight balance was the core issue: "In recent years Yamaha suffered a lot of rear tyre degradation. So at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 they started another balance of the bike to save the tyre.

"It was very good for Maverick and Fabio. For me, it was good at the beginning because I did the two podiums [in Argentina and Austin 2019], but I didn’t fix the problem with the tyre and also I was not able to ride the bike [as I want] because it felt very different, especially when I enter the corners.

"Apart from the two podiums at the beginning of the season. I always have the same problems."

But while Rossi wallowed, Vinales and Quartararo went from strength to strength.

"When you ride the same bike as Fabio and Maverick and they are able to be so fast, so strong, Yamaha think that I have to ride like them," Rossi said.

"But [Yamaha] need to support me because I am here in the factory team and next year I will race with Petronas, so they have to trust in me because maybe I’m not the faster on the track, but I can make good races."

Rossi named new crew chief David Munoz, also new to the MotoGP class, as among those helping fight his corner.

"This year we are stronger in the box. We don’t give up. We push hard on the Japanese engineers, with David, with all the crew… We needed something different, but we had to push a lot on Yamaha. It was not easy," he said.

"But we didn’t give up and already from lap 3 [with the new set-up] on Friday morning I felt a better bike for me, a better position in the corner. Something more for my style.

"I have a great relationship with Yamaha. I am a Yamaha rider in my heart. I am an important part of the history of this manufacturer. But I want to just put a little bit of pressure after this good result."

Jarvis added: "Valentino pushed, we accepted and made the change. I wouldn't say it's resolved all of his problems but he feels a lot more comfortable on the bike, it feels like it's his bike again and is therefore able to ride it better.

"That's what riders have to do; push inside the box and outside the track."

Rossi wouldn't be drawn on the exact details of what they wanted to modify for round two, although Italian TV spotted a revised swingarm pivot.

"It's not just the pivot, but we have some other differences. It's another style of bike," said Rossi, whose stronger braking and corner entry allowed him to resist team-mate Vinales until the penultimate lap.

The big question now is whether the 'Rossi-style' bike will also work as effectively for him around the very different challenge of Brno in the Czech Republic this weekend.

The Doctor is confident it will.

"Jerez is a track that I love but after the victory in 2016, I always suffered. I always did bad races," he said of the hot and twisty Spanish circuit.

"So to make a podium with a good race and 60-degree temperature on the ground means that we are working in a good way and we can be competitive also in Brno."

With Quartararo and Vinales leading the world championship after one-two finishes in both Jerez races, Yamaha certainly has no reason to doubt their commitment to what has become the 'standard' M1 set-up and riding style.

However, Rossi's jump in form after deviating outside of the box means the pair could, at the very least, now have a useful back-up to try if they hit trouble with the normal set-up at any future events.

Morbidelli's reaction will also be interesting.

While Quartararo took to the M1 like a duck to water in 2019, Petronas team-mate Morbidelli had similar issues to Rossi for much of last year, then made big progress over the winter and was a podium contender in both Jerez races (an engine problem taking him out of race two).

However, might Morbidelli also benefit from trying the Rossi-style set-up?

Free practice for the Czech Republic MotoGP, the first of three events in three weekends, starts on Friday morning.

 

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