Valentino Rossi made a good start to his home Misano MotoGP round, taking the latest M1 parts to fourth (+0.695s) on the Friday practice timesheets.

The Italian also admitted it was a pleasant surprise to see four Yamahas in the top five, headed by factory team-mate Maverick Vinales.

"It's a good start, a good Friday, also because it looks like all the Yamahas are very competitive and it's a bit of a surprise!" Rossi said.

"But it's a good feeling because it looks like also with the different [bike] configuration between me, Maverick and also the Petronas team, our bike works very well here at Misano.

"It looks like we have a good rhythm and in the acceleration we are not so bad, in the time attack we are good and also the pace is good. So, it's a good feeling."

Nonetheless, Rossi has clear ideas of where he needs to improve on day two.

"For me personally, we still have a lot to do because we have to improve, because I don’t feel fantastic with the balance of my bike.

"I need a bit more grip in acceleration and in the time attack I'm P4 but I need to try to stronger and close to Vinales and Quartararo.

"But it's a good Friday, the feelings are positive and now we have to work and continue like this staying with this speed also for the rest of the weekend."

Rossi was using all of the new M1 parts - a carbon fibre swingarm, double exhaust and front-brake disc cover - seen at the recent test, plus a thumb brake introduced at earlier rounds.

"The test after Silverstone was positive for us because we worked very hard, especially on the new stuff and at the end for me it was quite clear that the new stuff is better. So I decided to concentrate on this," Rossi explained.

"All the new things I tried I more-or-less like. It's not a huge difference but step-by-step. This is the way to improve."

The array of simultaneous new parts was a rare move for Yamaha, which has taken a conservative approach to development in recent seasons.

"It's good. It's positive, because it looks like Yamaha work stronger now and in the right direction," Rossi said. "For me, from the end of 2016 to the Brno test in reality everything we tested was not clearly better than the old stuff.

"So technically speaking it was a very difficult period and in fact the gap to the other manufacturers increased.

"But now, from the beginning of the season, something changed. We have a lot of different people from Japanese especially but also Europe and it looks like now we start to see the effect.

"But it's also true that Quartararo and Franco, who have the normal stuff, are fast. So it's also the marriage between the bike and the track.

"We have some different configuration, the exhaust, the carbon swingarm, the [thumb] brake but that is already from two or three races. But we have a good feeling."

Rookie Quartararo was second fastest and satellite team-mate Franco Morbidelli fifth, with Honda's world championship leader Marc Marquez the top non-Yamaha rider in third.

 

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