If a Yamaha rider fails to win this weekend's Aragon MotoGP, it will set a new record for the factory's longest premier-class losing streak since its first 500cc victory in 1972.

Yamaha's current 22-race barren run, stretching back to Valentino Rossi's win at Assen last year, matches the factory's 1997-1998 win drought, which finally ended with Simon Crafar's victory at Donington Park (although another 17-race losing streak followed immediately after).

The difference in 1997-1998 was that Honda won all 22 of those races, whereas Honda (12) and Ducati (10) have split the last 22 wins.

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Yamaha will need to turn around its Misano form if it is to avoid the 23rd defeat at Aragon, with the top M1 rider (Maverick Vinales) only fifth (+16s) and team-mate Valentino Rossi a subdued seventh (+19s) last time out in front of his home fans, costing him second in the championship to Andrea Dovizioso.

Rossi describes even third in the standings as 'miraculous' given the absence of victories, but his first target this weekend is a return to the podium, having been absent from the rostrum since July's German MotoGP.

The Italian stunned by qualifying on the front row on his early return from a broken leg at Aragon last season, backing it up with fifth in the race, a fraction behind Vinales.

"Another intense GP is waiting for us. The Aragon circuit is not one of our favourites, but we will do everything we can and as always we'll try to do our best," said Rossi, who made his 2017 Aragon comeback just 24 days after leg surgery.

"We want to fight for the podium, and it will be important to work well from day one, because we want to be on the podium again."

For Vinales, Aragon is another home Spanish event where he is eager to perform.

"For me all the Spanish rounds are very special, because of the atmosphere and the fans that are always there supporting the Spanish rider. It‘s like my second home Grand Prix and we know that we can deliver a good performance there with the M1. It's also one of my favourite tracks because of its layout, so in Aragon we can be very fast," he declared.

"It's very important to stay focused and keep improving from Grand Prix to Grand Prix to achieve the best set-up possible for our bike. Last year in Aragon we stayed at the podium's doors, because we had some problems with the tyres and it was a difficult race for us. This year I want to fight to get on the rostrum. I‘m optimistic after being here for a test some weeks ago, so I think that we can do a good job."

As Vinales mentioned, part of Yamaha's push to improve the M1's acceleration - expected to involve both electronic and engine changes - was a private test at Aragon following the abandoned Silverstone round, which also gave the chance for some early set-up work.

Team director Massimo Meregalli said: "It's Maverick's home GP and he really likes this circuit, so everyone will be 100% committed to the task ahead.

"Last year we had a good race, despite the tyres playing a big part in the outcome. Nevertheless, I'm certain nobody has forgotten Vale's heroic comeback, 24 days after leg surgery.

"This year we come to the Aragon GP with a completely fit team. We aim to use the data we gained last year to the fullest, as well as the test results gathered here a few weeks ago."

Yamaha is also setting up a new European test team, with Jonas Folger, to help speed-up development of the M1.

Rossi will start this weekend three points behind Dovizioso and 21 ahead of the other factory Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo.

Vinales is fifth in the world championship, six points behind Lorenzo but now 30-points from the front of the multi-rider battle for second in the standings.



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