Valentino Rossi labelled Tuesday’s test day at Valencia as “positive” after he posted the fourth fastest time using Yamaha’s 2016 M1.

It was an inauspicious start to proceedings for the Italian, who crashed early into the day at turn ten when using Yamaha’s 2018 spec engine, and totalled most of the machine in the process.

But Rossi was soon back up to speed, setting the fourth quickest time in the afternoon with just Maverick Viñales, Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez ahead.

The ’16 chassis, which he raced on Sunday, provided him with more feeling than the ’17 bike he used in recent races, he said. But “it’s not enough”, in his opinion, to cure the rear tyre degradation woes that hampered him during the past two years.

“The day was not so bad because we have a bit more time to work on the 2016 chassis and I feel good,” said Rossi. “I feel strong. The day was positive because I have a good pace and also with the new tyres I can make a good lap time.

“I am in the P4, not so far from the top. Also the feeling with the bike is quite positive. We were able to find the right balance. But the problem is – like we know – we have some problem with the rear tyre degradation.

“So the ’16 is not enough. We need to work. But I confirm that I’m able to go faster with the old bike. A crash in the fast right like always but for me no problem. I just slide and the bike was done.”

On Yamaha’s 2018 engine he said, “The first priority is the engine, which is the first prototype of the 2018 engine but unfortunately I did two laps and I crashed. I hope they are able to fix and we can use another time the engine tomorrow and I can understand. But no. I think the engine can be a bit faster but it don’t help a lot with helping the rear tyre.”

And the crash? “[It happened at] Turn ten. Maybe a cold tyre. I was already with two and a half laps so I push. I lost the front. I don’t know if I was a little bit off the line or it was cold. I don’t know.”

No one could accuse Yamaha of not seeking solutions for the current woes, with Rossi, Zarco and Viñales all testing different chassis-engine combinations through the day.

Asked whether he felt Yamaha was working in the right direction, Rossi said, “Sincerely I don’t know which direction Yamaha will follow. I heard Zarco try the ’17 bike and he feel comfortable. Also this one is good. What we can do is try and give our feelings as much as possible. And after Yamaha will decide which way to follow.

“We try to speak with Yamaha and give the information. We speak together but in the end Yamaha will decide. We know that with the ’17 bike we have something good to fix the problem of last year. But we try to work with some different chassis through the year to re-create the feeling of the ’16. So now it will be very important to decide but still we don’t know.”


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