Returning to a circuit which has hosted happy memories, Valentino Rossi says he and his Monster Yamaha team continue to find solutions to his recent pace problems at Phillip Island.

The nine-time world champion endured a nightmare Japanese MotoGP last weekend as he crashed out while battling down in 11th place.

With his podium drought stretching 13 races, seeing Rossi drop to seventh place in the current championship standings, Rossi recently reverted to Yamaha’s aluminium swingarm and standard exhaust to figure out why he’s struggling for front-running pace compared to his fellow Yamaha riders.

Leaving no stone unturned after previously experimenting with Yamaha’s carbon swingarm and Suzuki-style double exhaust, Rossi has also been spotted making tweaks to his braking technique – switching to a two-finger style at Motegi – as part of his bid to return to the front.

While the series of changes are expected to continue this weekend in Australia, Rossi hopes Phillip Island can also provide a boost given his impressive record at the iconic circuit.

Across his premier class career Rossi has won on six occasions while his two wins during his 250cc days make the Italian the most successful rider of all-time at the Australian track.

“In the last few races we have not been fast enough, but we are working hard,” Rossi said. “We headed to Australia for the race at the Phillip Island circuit, a track that I like a lot, and I hope I can have a good race.

“We have to work hard to be competitive right away. We will do our best!”

Monster Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli has echoed his rider’s comments and remains optimistic having seen Maverick Vinales claim the Iwata factory’s only win of the year last season at Phillip Island.

“Last year, Maverick and Vale were actively involved in an amazing fight for the victory there, which was ultimately won by Maverick,” Meregalli said.

“With the 2018 Phillip Island race still fresh in our memory, we are determined to join the battle at the front again this weekend.

“We saw in Japan that there’s work to do, so we will push to make further steps and will work hard from the very start of the first session to find a comfortable and competitive bike setting for our riders.”



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