Valentino Rossi already feels his new Yamaha YZR-M1 is a significant step forward over the 2014 machine after an impressive start to pre-season testing at Sepang. The Italian was fastest for much of the day until a last gasp improvement saw Marc Marquez overtake him but Rossi didn’t let that impact morale, and believes he has a much more competitive package than this time last year.
“It’s a positive first day and I’m very excited to be back on the bike. Today has been really good because I was consistently fast in both the morning and afternoon. We worked a lot on trying to improve our pace with a used tyre, but it’s already quite good. The bike is good and with the new tyre we were able to attack and ride a good lap time. At the end I was in second place just behind Marquez, but not by far. It looks like the bike has improved in different areas. We still have a lot of work to do but the first day was ok.”
Jorge Lorenzo backed up his teammate’s strong showing with third place, just a tenth further back, and after struggling desperately in the build-up to the 2014 campaign, the Spaniard says those issues are now a thing of the past.
“It’s a completely different story from last year, when we had a lot of problems, to now arrive here and feel comfortable on the bike and also with our position in the classification lap time-wise. This year we’ve been at the front from the beginning, in first three positions, and that means that the bike is working. My physical condition is very good. I feel strong, but the first day is always difficult. You have to use different muscles that you don’t usually use at the gym or during your preparations, so you always get tired. However, compared to the normal pre-season I’m feeling well. Sepang is not our best track, but to have two Yamaha’s in the top three is a good signal.”