In the wake of a disastrous Saturday at Aragon, Valentino Rossi admitted it has been difficult to maintain motivation in light of Yamaha’s continued struggles, and feels the issues at hand are so grave they cannot be remedied by work at the track.

A crash at the close of FP3 was just the beginning of a desperate day in which he equaled the worst qualifying result – 18th – of his glittering 23-year grand prix career. One of the previous occasions he placed so low was just his second race on the world stage (Sentul, ‘96); the other was when he was badly injured (Assen, ’06).

Rear grip, or rather a lack thereof, has plagued each of the four M1s present on the grid this weekend, and Rossi revealed not even set-up changes of great magnitude improved his feeling on track. “We have the feeling our work doesn’t change the problem," he said.

It didn’t end there. A resigned Rossi showed few of the battling signs of team-mate Maverick Viñales, who vowed to give everything on Sunday in a bid to limit the damage. Perhaps the most damning comment was that tomorrow’s aim is “to try to take some points.”

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“So today was a very difficult day already from the morning, because yesterday I was in the top 10, but my feeling with the bike was quite bad, especially after some laps with the tyres, so we tried to modify a lot,” said Rossi.

“But also, this morning in FP3, I was very slow. So at the end, I tried for the lap with a new tyre, but I also crashed. So for the afternoon in FP4, we tried to do something else, so we modified quite a lot the bike.

“But unfortunately, practice by practice, we have the feeling that what we can do in the box during the weekend, our normal work of setup, doesn't change our problem, because the feeling with the bike always remains difficult. And also the speed doesn't improve.

“After, in the Q1, we made some confusion, I waited a bit too much, I was not able to make the lap. But anyway, also if I make the lap, I think I can improve the position, but unfortunately I don't have the speed to enter into Q2.

“For tomorrow, we will try to do something else, we will try to modify the bike in another way, and we will see if we can make a better race, and I will try to take some points. I think this will be the target for tomorrow.”

After a similarly lackluster Saturday showing in Austria last month, Yamaha project leader Kouji Tsuya made a near unprecedented public apology. Asked whether Japanese management had moved to recently reassure him, Rossi’s response indicated a real disconnect between factory and team.

“It's very difficult to understand,” he said, “because in reality, we don't know a lot. We don't know what's happening in the future, we don't know the project, we don't know the details.

“We hope that they can do something to try to improve the bike, because we have a lot of problems. In a track like this it's difficult in general, it's historically difficult for me, for the Yamaha, we suffer very much.”

How are these recent issues affecting motivation? “In reality, I decided to bet everything, because I know that to go into the Q2, I need a lap behind somebody, and I waited,” he said.

“But unfortunately, we waited too much, and I didn't do the lap. Maybe if I do the second lap, I can improve maybe half a second, I can start three or four positions more in front, but I tried everything, but unfortunately, I take the track.

“For everybody, it's difficult to work like this. For the rider for sure, that anyway has to be inspired to go on the bike to give the maximum. But also for the rest of the team, no?

“But I think that we work hard, the guys work very strong for FP4, because we changed another time all the bike, and they had to rebuild the bike of the crash. The problem of this situation is that you need a lot more work for a lot less result. So to keep the motivation is difficult



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