Valentino Rossi came into the Aragon MotoGP weekend warning of a tough event for Yamaha.

That proved to the case on the opening day at least, when - despite a recent private test – the top M1 of Rossi was only ninth and 1.1s from the top, as Honda and Ducati filled all but one place in the top eight.

Unless there is a drastic change in form, Yamaha is on course to extend its MotoGP losing streak to a record 23 races in a row on Sunday. But when asked if he views this year as a 'lost season', the nine-time world champion showed his sense of humour remains intact:

"I don't know... Anyway, I go around the world, I see a lot of great cities, I speak with you [media]! It's fun. So it's not completely lost!"

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Reflecting more seriously on Yamaha's situation, Rossi explained:

"It's very difficult because for me after the first season back with Yamaha, where I won one race, I was quite competitive in 2014, 2015 and also 2016. In these three years the bike worked well.

"Sincerely, this season is very similar to last season. It's not a big difference. Last season I was able to win in Assen, but it was just one race and apart from the first three races already in 2017 we suffer like this year.

"So it's negative because we suffer a lot from the technical point of view, but all we can do is keep calm, give the maximum information and hope we can fix the problem in the future."

But Rossi, who has been calling for Yamaha to achieve better acceleration and low grip performance from the rear tyre since last season, made clear he won't try and tell the engineers how to do their job.

In other words, while the #46 can give advice and feedback to help identify the problem area, he cannot say how to fix it.

"My job is not to say 'I need the V engine or modify the chassis in this way'. What I say is that, for me, we are in big trouble in the area between the tyres and the bike. Especially, the rear tyre.

"So this what I try to explain, but the area to work in is not one for me to say and I think they are different - electronics, engine character, etc. But I don't know. They have to know. I can just say my advice and every time I say the same."

The Doctor agreed that the Yamaha suffers more in low grip conditions, but emphasised that even with maximum grip the M1 is behind the Ducati and Honda.

"It's like we are more at the limit with the grip, so when the track for some reason has less grip, it looks like the Yamaha suffers more than other bikes.

"But the other big problem is that in a perfect condition of grip, with new asphalt and a perfect temperature, anyway we are slower than the factory Honda and Ducati. So it means that also in perfect conditions we suffer. We suffer less, but we still suffer."

Turning to Friday's issues, Rossi backed up 'struggling' team-mate Vinales' opinion (10th fastest) that corner entry is the biggest weakness at Aragon - Tech3's Johann Zarco (a lowly 17th fastest) having felt corner exit was the biggest concern.

"For me personally, it's more in the corner entry," Rossi said. "Like in Misano. Misano was a big example of our problems because in FP4 I was P6-P7, but only one tenth from the top and my pace was very strong, more-or-less the pace of Dovizioso in the race.

"But the next day, with the same conditions, me and Maverick lost 0.6-0.7, more than half-a-second. So this is the problem. And here is similar, but like I said, usually Misano is a good track for us.

"Here, also the track doesn't help us a lot. But it's like this. We have to try.

"The other problem we have is that when it becomes very hot in the afternoon, we suffer more than the others. It looks like the Ducatis don’t suffer a lot."

Yamaha's World Superbike electronic guru Michele Gadda is present this weekend, having also attended some private tests with the team, although Rossi has said Gadda is working more towards 2019.

In terms of the remaining events, Rossi fears that Valencia could be worse for Yamaha than Aragon.



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