Valentino Rossi feels setup modifications with his Monster Yamaha have made an instant impact at Phillip Island as he looks to recover from a nightmare Japanese round last time out.

The nine-time world champion struggled throughout the weekend in Motegi, eventually crashing out of 11th place, as his frustrations continued while looking for pace improvements which the other Yamaha riders have uncovered in recent races.

After ending Friday practice in Australia comfortably inside the top 10, with fourth place in the wet FP1 and seventh place in the dry FP2, Rossi confirmed changes to his M1 delivered performance gains compared to Motegi.

Rossi has recently ditched Yamaha’s carbon swingarm and Suzuk-style double exhaust on a temporary basis in order to rediscover his speed compared to the likes of team-mate Maverick Vinales and Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo. Vinales topped both practice sessions at Phillip Island, while Quartararo sat out FP2 after a heavy fall in the wet morning session.

“For the dry, we modified something because in Motegi we tried something different that I didn’t like a lot,” Rossi said. “I was good from the beginning and my pace is not so bad.

“We have a lot of riders that are faster, two or three that have a better pace than me but it is not so bad. The important thing is to stay in the top 10 because it looks like tomorrow we will be wet all day and in the end we are P7 but on pace we are quite good.

“Today is a very important day because we tested in both conditions and it looks like the forecast tomorrow will be wet so everybody pushed a lot to stay in the top 10. In the end in the dry I was P7 and my pace is quite good.

“In both conditions I feel comfortable with the bike and I was not so bad in the wet, P4, so we have to work in some areas to improve and also try to understand the best tyre option. But the feeling with the bike is good.”

While the Japanese GP was held in dry conditions, Rossi also struggled during a wet FP3 and FP4 but was pleased with the progress made in the wet conditions at Phillip Island.

“In the wet we changed quite a lot because in the last race we went one way in the wet but I never felt very comfortable with the bike,” he said.

“Today we came back to more similar to what I like and I feel good at the end, I was P4 and I was able to improve. For me, Maverick, Marquez and Miller are faster than me but they were not so far.”

Rossi holds the record for most wins at Phillip Island with eight victories across his career, six in the premier class and two from his 250cc days, while he is preparing to make his 400th career race start this weekend.

Today marks the 10th anniversary since Rossi clinched his ninth, and most recent, world championship.



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