It's official. Yamaha is now experiencing its longest-ever win drought in MotoGP, having gone 23 races since Valentino Rossi's victory at last year's Dutch TT.

Yamaha's 1997-1998 losing streak was exceeded at Aragon on Sunday, when Rossi finished as the top Yamaha after riding from 17th to eighth.

Asked what importance the 23rd successive defeat might have, Rossi suggested it could help jolt senior management into action.

"I hope that it's important for Yamaha to react. So maybe some top guys see the number, and ask, 'why?'" Rossi replied.

In terms of the kind of reaction Rossi is seeking, he previously said Yamaha needs to repeat the effort made when he first joined the team in 2004:

"When I arrived a long, long time ago in 2004 Yamaha was a lot worse than now. But in one year they reacted very strongly. They put different organisation, they put more money, more people and in one year we were able to make the 2005 M1 that is for me the best M1. So we have to try the same."


Meanwhile, after his worst dry qualifying since 2006 at Aragon on Saturday, some big set-up changes allowed Rossi to at least get back into the top ten in the race.

"In the end, the race is not so bad for me. I can keep a constant pace and take some points. I can make a top 10, which yesterday I wasn't sure I could do. This is our potential now."

Winner of a record 89 premier-class races, Rossi finished 15sec from victory, with team-mate Maverick Vinales a further 7sec behind in tenth place.

Worryingly, Rossi completed the 23 laps only one-second faster than last season, when he was making an early return from a broken leg.

But the top Honda of race winner Marc Marquez was ten-seconds faster than last year, top Ducati of runner-up Andrea Dovizioso almost 12-seconds faster and top Suzuki of third place Andrea Iannone 30-seconds faster.

"It's a very difficult situation, because it's been one year that we are in this technical situation," Rossi said.

"And also our opponents - especially Honda and Ducati, but today also Suzuki - did a big step.

"I am a little bit faster than last year in the race, because last year I was injured and this year I'm in good shape.

"The problem is that last year I finished fifth and this year I finished eighth, but Márquez and Dovizioso are like ten seconds faster. They made a big step.

"So in this situation, because we are a top team, it's difficult to find the motivation to fight maybe for the top 10."

The Doctor has long made clear Yamaha must step-up and improve the M1 so that it can extract maximum performance from the Michelin rear tyre.

"The problem is not the tyres, because the tyres are the same for everybody," Rossi emphasised. "Honda and Ducati are able to go 10 seconds faster than last year with the same tyres.

"But our problem is the tyres, because for some reason we are not able to make the rear tyre work in a proper way. So our bike doesn't take the maximum grip from the rear tyre, and we stress too much the tyre in a bad way, and at the same time we are slow.

"So, we are slow and we stress the tyre. This is the problem, but it's a Yamaha problem, because the tyres are the same for everybody. It looks like the other factories work better in this way."

Rossi believes the solution will be a mix of electronic and engine improvements but is yet to see any significant progress in either area.

"I tried [in testing] the first edition of the 2019 engine, but I think and I hope that it's not the final engine," he said. "It's just a small modification, because it's very similar.

"I hope that they continue to work because, for me, the engine is a problem for us, they have to make it better."

And when was the last time Yamaha made a big step with its MotoGP bike?

"It was in a test here in Aragon in 2015. This was the last time. It was still with Bridgestone tyres. We did that test in June and after I won in Assen."

Despite being absent from the podium for the past four races, Rossi remains third in the world championship, 15 points behind Dovizioso and 87 from Marquez.

Rossi has got a 28 point gap over Jorge Lorenzo, who fell for the second race in succession, while Vinales is equal on points with his fellow Spaniard with five rounds to go.

Yamaha MotoGP Group Leader & M1 Project Leader Kouji Tsuya apologised to Rossi and Vinales for the lack of acceleration performance after qualifying at August's Austrian Grand Prix.