Reflecting on Johann Zarco's surprise pole position on a 2019-spec Ducati at Brno, Valentino Rossi highlighted that newer does not always mean better when it comes to MotoGP technology.

Zarco gave the Avintia team it's first-ever pole position, leading a historic French one-two ahead of Petronas Yamaha star Fabio Quartararo.

"I think that today the French motorsport supporters are very happy! Maybe it never happened that two French riders are P1-P2? For sure Quartararo give also an extra motivation to Zarco, no?" Rossi said.

But while Zarco celebrated, the best 2020 Ducati was Danilo Petrucci in eighth, with Jack Miller and triple title runner-up Andrea Dovizioso left down in 14th and 18th places respectively.

"About the Ducati, sometimes when engineers try to improve the bike, the numbers on the computer look like the new bike is better, but when you put the bike on the track the feeling for the rider is worse. This happened a lot of times with Yamaha!" Rossi laughed. "So it's good that it happens also to the other manufacturers.

"Because also Honda, their new bike is more difficult than the old bike, and also at Ducati.

"It's not an easy situation because you have a lot of expectation for the new bike, but sometimes the feeling and the balance - the magic that you have - is better with the old bike."

Pursuit of that 'magic' perhaps also explains why, despite a Yamaha one-two for Quartararo and Maverick Vinales in the opening round, a struggling Rossi fought to go his own way with bike set-up at the second Jerez event – and stood on the MotoGP podium for the first time since April last year.

"In the last period at Yamaha we have used a different setting, made to save the tyres," Rossi explained. "But I don’t feel comfortable with the bike, because I'm not able to turn in the right way, to carry speed in the braking and anyway I still suffer with tyre life.

"So I lose speed and also I don’t fix the problem with the tyres.

"Now we study a different balance, different setting, together with David [Munoz] and our engineers and I feel better on the bike. For sure the rear tyre degradation is still an issue for the end of the race, but I'm able to be stronger."

Rossi and Yamaha have avoided details on what exactly has been changed. But given team-mate Maverick Vinales found success by putting more weight towards the rear of his M1 from late 2018, there are rumours Rossi has now moved away from that balance and revived the kind of front-rear weight distribution that worked for him in the past.

The Italian enjoyed a promising performance with his new set-up on Saturday morning in Brno, claiming a close fifth place in FP3, then again in FP4. However, he could only manage tenth (+0.828s) in the hotter qualifying session.

"Today for me is a mixed feeling because especially in the morning I was very fast and I feel good with the bike and tyres. It was a very good practice," he said. "Unfortunately in the afternoon the temperature raised a lot, the asphalt was ten degrees more than yesterday and we suffer.

"We wanted to continue using the medium front but it was too hot and I suffered also in the qualifying.

"Unfortunately, I have to start from P10 and this is very bad news for the race because everybody is strong and starting from behind will be very hard.

"But my pace is good. So I need to start well and try to make a good race to recover some positions."

Brno was expected to be a far tougher event for Yamaha than Jerez but, aside from Rossi, the factory has three riders in the top five on the grid. Is the M1 the most rounded package?

"In 2017 and 2018 and half of 2019, we suffer very much because the bike never improved," Rossi said. "So Yamaha decided to put more effort, they changed a lot of people and we worked very hard and now the bike is better.

"We always suffer about top speed but now it looks like the overall M1 [package] have a very good balance.

"I also think that, except me, the riders are very strong. Because they are very young and they push easy other to improve - from Quartararo to Vinales to Franco. I think they ride very well.

"For me, the new 2020 rear tyre is a bit better because - from the feeling we have when we ride - the grip between the edge and the traction area has less difference. So it's also easier to ride. But I expect that's an advantage for everybody."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...