Valentino Rossi suffered his toughest test day of 2019 at Qatar on Sunday, when the Italian was left down in 19th place on the timesheets.

On an evening when Monster Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales was second fastest, Rossi struggled for rear grip, a familiar complaint for the M1 riders last season.

“Today was more difficult. I struggled more, especially with the rear grip," said Rossi, who was 1.202s behind the quickest lap of the night by Suzuki's Alex Rins.

"Yesterday we had a base setting, I was not so bad. Today we tried to improve, we tried some different settings, but also some different materials. Unfortunately we didn't improve.

"It was a difficult day, I was always too slow, so we're not happy. Tomorrow we'll try to follow some other directions, to be more competitive.”

Yet Vinales was far more satisfied with his evening's work.

"For sure, the consistency was much better, honestly," he said. "I could ride quite well, when I put good new tyres on, I felt great at the back. I tried to keep my rhythm a little bit more, but finally I got some issues with the bike, and I went to the box.

"But anyway, I think we did a really good improvement from yesterday. Especially on entry of the corner and also we found a little bit better grip. So let's see tomorrow, but anyway, I'm really happy about the improvement of today.

"It's important to feel like that on the bike. It's only the second day, and I felt quite good.

"For sure the bike is now working quite well, I think it's the best bike we've had in two years, but the competitors made really good steps forward, so we need to keep working. Especially on acceleration.

"I think right now, we lose quite a lot in that area. In Sepang not so much, but here we do. So tomorrow I think that, maybe with a different system, we can gain some top speed that will be very important. Especially for the race.

"For one lap, it's OK, in the end, I brake later and I go to the corner. But to fight in the race, it's going to be very important."

Pressed on the options available to improve acceleration, the Spaniard replied:

"Well, maybe trying to find a different way of delivering power, maybe less torque or more torque from the engine. Using less traction control, less anti-wheelie, more anti-wheelie.

"So tomorrow we are going to try some things, for sure we are going to spend some laps that can be useful for other things, but at the moment, the right way to focus is on acceleration, for sure.

"We are very fast into the corners and also through the corners, but now we are losing quite a lot in exit."

 

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