Valentino Rossi was happy with the way his Movistar Yamaha crew bounced back from a disappointing day two to finish the opening Sepang test in fourth place. Rossi had struggled for any degree of comfort on his YZR-M1 on Thursday and praised his team for rectifying the issues, although he conceded the deficit from himself to the Repsol Honda riders was too big for his liking.
“Today I’m more satisfied. It was a good day and we did a good job, especially because we tested everything and we decided what we have to use to continue the development. I’m very happy because 1’59.4 is my best lap in Sepang in my whole career and I’m already 0.3 faster compared to last year. It’s true that the conditions today are good, but also compared to yesterday we improved the setting of the bike a lot and also my pace is not so bad. We also tried a race simulation, but not with our performance at a hundred per cent. We tried some different parts for the bike, something good and something I didn’t like. My pace in the simulation was quite good so the test was positive. The only negative thing was the speed of Marc and Dani. They are a little bit faster than us on a lap with a fresh tyre, but also in terms of pace. That means that, if we want to beat them, we have to keep working.”
Jorge Lorenzo was fifth fastest, three quarters of a second down on Marquez’s record-breaking lap, but remains upbeat about Yamaha’s early season prospects.
“In the morning we weren’t very explosive to make a good lap time because the bike didn’t stop so well on the brakes. We modified the set-up to improve the braking, but we didn’t have any new tyres left to do a good lap time. I think we might not have been able to ride a 1’58, but maybe a low 1’59. The race simulation was interesting. We did one at the time of day when the temperature was the highest and our pace was very consistent. I think that if there was a race tomorrow, we could fight for the win, so this is positive. The bike improved a little compared to how it was at the Valencia test. I think we have a big thing to try at the second test at Sepang. Let’s see if this is clearly better.”