Valentino Rossi admitted he was pleasantly surprised to have topped the timesheets in Monday’s post-race test at Brno. The Italian, who finished fourth in Sunday’s race after a strategical mistake during the flag-to-flag bike changes, edged out championship leader Marc Marquez after putting in a blistering lap late in the day.
Rossi was seen testing Movistar Yamaha’s new aero-fairing, as well as new Ohlins front forks, and although he doesn’t expect to reap the benefits in Austria this weekend, the nine-times champion does expect the upgrade to provide a step forward in performance.
“I’m so happy, because it’s been a long time since I was able to be in the first position on a Monday. I don’t usually like the Monday tests, they are a difficult part of my work. It’s important because we finished a good weekend with a good performance. Being in first position is always a good feeling. Between all the things we tried, we tried the fairing that was good. I have a good feeling, but that depends on the track, I don’t think that for example at a track like Austria this fairing will be very important. I’m happy. I like the fork, because it helps in the change of direction and the bike is easier and lighter, so it’s a good option.”
Team-mate Maverick Vinales was third fastest and wasn’t quite as happy with the new front forks, although he will head to Austria in confident mood.
“We were trying to get more acceleration, which is really important in Austria to get a good lap time. We improved and I feel happy again on the bike, I‘m riding really good. We also tried many things with the electronics that we improved, so I‘m quite happy. The carbon front forks from Öhlins feel much lighter, but anyway the effect wasn‘t the one we wanted. We‘ll try it again in Austria and let‘s see how we do there. We didn‘t try the two new front Michelin tyres, we wanted to keep the momentum going with this tyre and keep the best feeling for Austria.”