Valentino Rossi has identified rear tyre management in the punishing summer heat as key to a podium challenge in Sunday’s MotoGP outing at Brno after a “difficult” first day of free practice in the Czech Republic.

The nine-time world champion posted the seventh quickest time in Friday afternoon’s FP2, but later complained of his feeling with the front end of his Yamaha M1 over the track’s numerous bumps.

The heat was also “difficult to manage,” he said, especially in terms of the rear tyre. Sampling Michelin’s hard rear tyre will be among his top priorities on Saturday, while reducing the lack of rear spin as much as possible will also take precedence.

“For sure it was a difficult day,” he admitted. “The conditions are at the limit with more than 50 degrees on the asphalt. It’s difficult to manage. It’s also difficult to ride the bike at the maximum because it looks like the track have quite a lot of bump, like a little worse compared to last year.

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“So it’s not easy. I don’t have a fantastic feeling, especially in the front. We still have to work. But for me the main issue, the biggest problem will be the rear tyre degradation. Here the rear tyre drop a lot. After three or four laps you lose a lot of grip and you have a lot of spin so it’s difficult to keep the right pace.

“So we have to work a lot on this point, in this area. It looks like the situation is not very clear still because a lot of top riders try different tyre options front and rear. I don’t try the harder option but a lot of riders like it. Tomorrow I will try. Maybe tomorrow we can understand in a better way our level.

“I think everybody suffer. It depends who suffer less. When you put the new tyre you have two laps where you are fast and it’s very easy to improve the lap time. But for 21 laps I think the key for arrive on the podium is to try and suffer as less as possible. The rear degradation is a lot, so you lose a lot of performance, you lose a lot of time. The track is also long so the gap become bigger.”

And how did he approach setting up the M1 for Brno? “For me you have to do different jobs,” Rossi said. “One is for the mechanical setting. But it’s not so difficult to the Sachsenring for example, but you have to make small adjustments, like the weight balance and the springs and things like this.

“And after we have to do a lot of work with the electronics. To try and spin less it’s very important to work on the electronics system, to have a good power in acceleration and without spin.

“When the tyre spin it drops a lot in this temperature so we have to do these two jobs together with the right choice of the tyre. As always the three options can be good so you have to try all three to decide which can be the best.”

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