Valentino Rossi has placed great importance on the 14th round of the MotoGP season, believing the Motorland Aragon layout will be a ‘difficult test bench’ from which Yamaha can further measure its recent progress.

Last year’s round at the Spanish venue was nothing short of disastrous for all four Yamaha entries, with Rossi the first M1 home in a distant eighth place, 15 seconds back of race winner Marc Marquez.

But there have been signs of real progress from the Iwata factory, namely at Misano, where its bikes occupied four of the top five positions.

Add that to the raft of new parts – carbon swingarm, double exhaust, front wheel cover – made available to Rossi and team-mate Maverick Viñales and one had the impression Yamaha is on the up.

So what better place to put this to the test than the scene of their 2018 nadir? As Rossi said, “It's a very important weekend for me and for us in Yamaha, because this track, for me personally and also for Yamaha in the last season, is one of the most difficult where we struggled very much in the last years.

“But we arrive from some races where we made an improvement, where the bike is more competitive, so it will be very very interesting to understand if we are also more competitive than last year.

“Because this is a "difficult test bench", it's a difficult place for us, where we can understand. Last year the weekend was very hard. So I'm very curious to understand if we are more competitive here.

“I will continue this work [on new parts], because I think we need to go forward, and the new parts will be the future, the configuration of the bike, so it's good for me but also for Yamaha to make some kilometres to understand.

“Because it looks like with the other parts we are already at 95 percent, and with these we have to do some development, but the potential is good. So I think I will continue with the same configuration as Misano.

“I tried [the carbon swingarm] just in Misano, and in Misano the tyre life was not a big issue, and I don't have a particular problem. But maybe this weekend we will understand, because here, the rear tyre degradation is a big, big problem.”

Addressing the speed of satellite Yamaha runner Fabio Quartararo, Rossi opined, “I think that in Misano Quartararo made his best race in MotoGP, because he rode very well from the beginning to the end, and he was very fast.

“About the tactics during the race, it's always very difficult to understand in advance of out of the track. You have to be there, you have to be there and understand if it's better to stay in front or behind, and you have to adapt or make your choice.

“Sometimes one is better, sometimes the other is better, it depends very much on what you feel together with your rival. But I think that Quartararo also made a good strategy, but Márquez was a bit faster at the end.”

 

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