Valentino Rossi completed his first laps with the race bikes he will use during his final season at the factory Yamaha team, as 2020 MotoGP testing got underway at Sepang.

After trying prototypes at the Valencia and Jerez tests in November, Yamaha has delivered further updates in Malaysia to create what will effectively be the final version of the 2020 Factory-Spec M1.

"Materially, the bike is new. These are the bikes that we will use during the season. We also have something different in the engine and the chassis compared to the last test," Rossi explained.

"But the feeling is very different compared to Jerez and Valencia, sincerely, I think because the track here is a lot faster, a lot wider.

"The 2020 version is already better under some points of view, but in other areas we are worse than last year so we need to work.

"But I think that's quite normal because the bike is brand new, so we need more kilometres and more experience to understand and use the potential of the bike."

Rossi and team-mate Maverick Vinales each had two of the new 2020s, plus a 2019 for comparison runs.

The Italian, 41 this month, set the tenth fastest lap time during a rain-interrupted day, lapping 0.624s behind future replacement Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) - although the young Frenchman was still riding the familiar 2019 bike.

"Last year we suffered very much with the engine because we are always quite slow in the straight and also we suffer with the rear tyre degradation. So we tried to work under these points of view," Rossi said of his requests for the new machine.

"Looks like we are a bit faster in the straight, but it's a little bit too early to say because we don’t understand fully. It looks like the gap is less, but for sure we have to work."

Team manager Massimo Meregalli was more optimistic: "For the moment we have been able to confirm an improvement in top speed and potentially tyre life too. But there are other areas that need to be improved, which is to be expected at the start of the season."

Quartararo will join Vinales and Rossi on the 2020 Factory-Spec Yamaha tomorrow, while new star test rider Jorge Lorenzo is also expected to make his debut on the 2020 M1 during the next two days.



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