Valentino Rossi finished day one of the Dutch MotoGP in sixth position, he second-best start to a 2017 weekend, as he put further laps on the new Yamaha chassis.

The Movistar Yamaha rider - like team-mate, title leader and Friday pace setter Maverick Vinales - has one of the latest frames available at Assen.

Rossi was fifth in a close FP1, then dropped a position in the afternoon to sit 0.7s from Vinales.

"For the first day, it was not so bad. I'm quite satisfied," Rossi began. "Especially because we can do two dry practices in quite good conditions, which here in Assen is never easy.

"So we can work more on the new chassis, and I confirmed the good feeling which I had in Barcelona and I can be a bit more competitive.

"For sure we have a lot of work to do, because I think that the balance of the bike is still not at 100%. I suffer, I have some chatter. Especially in the fast corners, I'm not fantastic.

"About the pace, I'm not so bad, but not strong enough to fight for the podium, so we need to improve. But as a Friday, it's quite good.

"I was in the top five this morning, and this afternoon, I finished P6. That's very important, because it looks like tomorrow it can rain, so also for Q2 it was crucial to stay in the top 10 this afternoon."

Pressed on the new chassis, which had performed favourably in the post-race Barcelona test, Rossi added: "Unfortunately we have just one [new chassis], so we have to manage between the two bikes. But I prefer the new one, yes."

Despite the improvement from the new design, Rossi was still slower than Tech 3 rookie Jonas Folger, who set the second quickest lap on the 2016 Yamaha. Is Rossi curious to see what last year's chassis would be like?

"You know, I tried, but it was very difficult, also to manage with the Yamaha, it becomes difficult. Anyway, the 2017 bike has some good things, so we have to continue to work to try to go forward, and try to improve this type of chassis," Rossi replied.

Vinales, like the Tech 3 riders, set his best lap time with soft tyres front and rear. Rossi finished the day with a medium front and soft rear.

"I tried to continue with the soft [front] of this morning, because it looks like it can resist [for the race], but unfortunately I don't like it a lot," Rossi said.

"We move more to the medium or to the hard. But we have to decide, and it's still quite open, but if it's true that tomorrow the weather will be wet from the morning to the afternoon, it will be hard to decide for the race."

By Peter McLaren

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