Although transitioning from the factory to satellite Yamaha team in MotoGP next season, Valentino Rossi said he expects to have the same level of involvement in development of the M1.

But the Italian then quipped he's unsure how much he's currently involved.

"I think that I will be involved like this year! So it doesn’t change a lot… And we need to understand if this year I'm very involved or not!" Rossi laughed.

Are you?

"I don’t know! What I can do is give all my experience and try to say what for me we need, but more-or-less we have the same problem, similar problem for a lot of time. So I think that next year doesn't change a lot.

"I think that anyway the Japanese [engineers] hear what the riders said, but at the end they do what they want. I mean they have already [in] mind what they want to do."

Which doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of Yamaha's approach to rider feedback...

Rossi was speaking after a difficult opening day at the inaugural Portimao MotoGP event, where he was left just 21st on the timesheets (+1.862s) after an unsuccessful change to the setting of his bike, then suffered a fall in the afternoon.

"The track is great, but it's also very difficult," said the Italian. "Today we tried something different, we tried to improve the grip, especially on the rear part of the bike, But unfortunately I lose the balance, I lose the feeling so I wasn’t able to enter fast enough in the corners. So it was a difficult day.

"After we go back to a bike that was a bit more standard, and I was a bit faster, but unfortunately I crashed.

"So from that moment we tried to do the time attack with the other bike, but I don’t have a feeling with the front so I was quite slow. So I think that tomorrow we will come back to a more normal setting and we try to understand if we can be faster."

"I crashed in the same corner [Turn 4] as Taka, because I slowed down because I had some traffic. So when I arrived there, that is the first left corner after a lot of rights, maybe the front tyre was a bit more cold. So under this point of view the tyre is very sensitive so I crashed.

"But the track is great, it's beautiful riding this track because it's something different. It's funny and very exciting. The new asphalt is not too bad, I think it needs a bit more rubber because it's very clean. It doesn't have rubber so I think that practice by practice the grip will improve."

Team-mate Maverick Vinales was second quickest, behind Johann Zarco.

 

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