Valentino Rossi has called for Yamaha to make improvements ahead of the season opener in Qatar after admitting he isn’t sure where they stand in the competitive pecking order. The team struggled in the second half of 2017 with a YZR-M1 which proved increasingly unpredictable and the winter tests have done little to suggest those problems are behind them.
Rossi was tenth fastest on Sunday and pinpointed the electronics as a key area that Movistar Yamaha need to work on.
“I think that we improved today. I rode a 1’30.5s, but unfortunately I made a mistake at the end of a really good lap, else I could have done a 1’30.2s, and we’re all very close. Like last year, it’s difficult to understand where we stand. A lot of people were strong in Malaysia and here they struggled, and also the opposite. We have to improve, because we didn’t make much progress compared to last year, especially when it comes to the electronics. We have a lot of work to do and at this moment we have to get through it – but that’s today, maybe in Qatar it will be better.”
Team-mate Maverick Vinales was even more outspoken, claiming the bike isn’t yet ready to compete for victory on a consistent basis.
“It’s been a difficult test, like it was in Malaysia. We are working hard trying to figure out what the problem is – right now mostly on braking, but we have to improve in all areas. We have to continue working, trying to find out how to improve. The race days are coming up fast and we only have the three days in Qatar left. I will keep working and I will be 100% ready, and when the bike is ready I will push.”