While optimistic for Yamaha’s chances heading into one of its favoured MotoGP rounds at Le Mans, Valentino Rossi concedes his team remains a while off curing its electronics woes in 2018.

Le Mans has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for Rossi despite his last win at the Bugatti circuit coming back in 2008 but with six podiums at the past nine MotoGP races in France, while crashing out from a fight for victory against teammate Maverick Vinales 12 months ago, Rossi remains positive Yamaha can improve on its Jerez performance.

The Italian suffered a difficult race in Spain finishing a distant fifth place, after Andrea Dovizoso, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa crashed out together ahead of him, but admits the recent tests at Jerez and Mugello haven’t provided solutions to his electronics problems.

Rossi has pinpointed the major flaw to the factory Yamaha’s YZF-M1 set-up has been within its electronics package but he feels his team needs more time to turn things around.

“We arrive from a difficult moment because I am not very fast or very strong,” Rossi said. “Testing in Jerez and Mugello, unfortunately we didn’t find a lot of things because we didn’t have a lot of things to try.

“We worked a little bit in Jerez on some small details and after in Mugello it was more to understand the balance of the bike for the weekend.



“It is sincerely difficult to say. I hope as soon as possible but in Yamaha they are working so maybe we need time to improve and try something different. It is difficult to say. Usually in the second half of the season you have one or two weeks more for work but I hope to improve the area.

“I think that our level is similar to Jerez but usually at this track the M1 works well, that’s been the case in the last years as I was always strong. We need to understand it this year how is our level compared to our opponents and then we’ll see.”

Rossi feels his strong record at Le Mans is down to the Bugatti circuit suiting his riding style while the recent resurfacing has helped him gel further with the iconic French track.

“In my career I haven’t won here a lot but I have had a lot of good races,” he said. “I like the track as it has hard braking and changes of direction.

“Historically the Yamaha is good at Le Mans which is one reason, I was also good with the Ducati with two podiums, so it is a good track. With the asphalt they did a fantastic job, the track is very flat and it is a great feeling to ride, as the grip level was very high last year.”

After an encouraging third place at the 2018 MotoGP season opener in Qatar, Rossi has struggled to take his fight to the front-runners after being punted off track by Marc Marquez in Argentina followed up by fourth place in Austin and fifth place at Jerez.


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