A competitive Friday at his home Misano MotoGP made Valentino Rossi feel 20 years younger compared to the previous Austrian round.

The power-hungry Red Bull Ring had taunted the M1 riders, with Rossi highest placed in fifth and then ninth.

Despite fearing Yamaha's lack of private testing data could put them at a disadvantage on the new Misano asphalt, Friday practice saw an all-M1 sweep of the top three - courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli - with Rossi in sixth.

"It’s a good first day. The most positive thing for us is our bike is very competitive. We are a lot stronger compared to Austria. We can fight for the top positions," said the 41-year-old.

"This makes the situation completely different, another way to work, another type of motivation.

"To try to explain, in Austria I felt like I am 50 years old. Here in Misano, I feel like I am 30! So it’s completely different.

"We were fast here in Misano also last year. But we had to go on the track to understand if we are still good because in MotoGP the technical situation changes very fast.

"A lot of other manufacturers tested here. Ducati, KTM, Aprilia for example. So you never know. But it looks like the M1 is competitive here. We have a lot of work to do but I feel 'younger' compared to Austria.

"[In FP2] I finished P5. I did a good lap. Also my pace is not so bad. But if I want to fight for the podium I need to improve a little bit. I lose some tenths in some corners. We have to work hard, but the first day was positive and here the Yamaha is good."

Present to witness Yamaha's revival were the first MotoGP trackside fans of the season, with 10,000 spectators a day being allowed into the Misano circuit this weekend.

"It’s a great feeling. With the fans the atmosphere is completely different in MotoGP, in Formula1, in football. All the sports, we are here for them," Rossi said.

"Today they are not a lot, but better than nothing. I know for Misano the 10,000 tickets sold out in like 5 hours. So MotoGP is a little bit like Pink Floyd or U2! This is good for our sport.

"It’s important because I hope next year we can make a more normal championship, or as normal as possible."

 

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