Valentino Rossi feels Yamaha’s intention to bring the first evolution of its 2020 M1 to the post-race test at Brno in early August bodes well for next year, saying the Japanese factory has always followed this approach when it has “been competitive.”

In light of the Yamaha's recent struggles at Mugello, Monster Energy team boss Massimo Meregalli recently updated Italian website GP One on its plans for next year, with Rossi and team-mate Maverick Viñales pencilled in to try the ’20 M1 in early August.

Rossi stated he could not understand why the factory has not abided by this schedule in recent years and suggested this could be one of the reasons why the factory has lagged behind rivals Honda, Ducati and – latterly – Suzuki.

"Sincerely I don't know very well,” said Rossi when Mergealli’s words were put to him. “But when the Yamaha has been competitive then we have tried a new bike in the Brno test. For some reason – that nobody knows – in the last years the new bike does not arrive. Never.

“Maybe also for that reason we take a big gap. I hope [we will have something] but I don't know.”

The 40-year old was speaking at the Circuit of Barcelona on Friday, a day in which he finished a promising seventh place in FP2. Compared to recent early struggles at Jerez, Le Mans and Mugello, this represented a big improvement.

The fact his speed came in hot conditions on a track surface that doesn’t have so much grip was of comfort to the nine-time world champion.

“It’s true that the track has a lot less grip,” said Rossi. “The grip here in Barcelona is always very low. Last year with the new asphalt we were able to be a lot faster but in one season we lose a lot of grip.

“Anyway I like the track a lot and today it was good, a positive day for us because I feel good with the bike and I can ride quite well. My pace is not so bad and I could stay in the top ten in the morning and the afternoon. It was already hot but I did not feel so bad.

“We have to see. The first thing is to try and improve tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do. The most important thing is to stay in the top ten for the Q2 and this is important.”

Rossi and Yamaha have been beset by top speed issues at recent races. There were no changes at the Circuit of Barcelona, where the 0.6-mile straight underlined the ’19 M1’s big weakness.

“Unfortunately the downhill part of the straight does not help,” said Rossi, who was nearly 6mph down on Marc Marquez’s Honda in FP2 despite testing a new exhaust.

“It is also true that this morning it was not so bad but in the afternoon with the headwind some bikes lose some kilometres but we lose ten.

“The last three are the three Yamahas! The problem is with the regulation of the engine is that this year is like this. The difference of the top speed is the configuration of the engine and it is closed. It is like this and we have to try to manage in a different way.”

Rossi and the Yamahas of Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo were the three slowest bikes on Friday.

On the new exhaust he tested, Rossi added, “Yes, we try one exhaust that is a bit different but I don't feel a lot of difference. So we will try Monday in the test and we will use the standard one for the weekend.”

 

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