For now, Mugello hasn't exactly welcomed Valentino with open arms. At least not in terms of the stopwatch, which sees Rossi lying in 18th place at the end of day one of practice. Fairly disastrous, particularly when the other Yamahas are performing well, particularly Quartararo and Vinales, 2nd and 5th respectively, Morbidelli also inside the top ten.
“i expected to be strong, but it's been a complicated day - the Doctor admits - I've not felt comfortable on the M1, I can't ride it as I want and was slow in both sessions, slower than last year. If we add the fact that the classification is very tight, this explains my position”.
But the other Yamahas are doing well…
“Fabio and Vinales were quick, they've found the right path. Morbidelli is a little slower but in the top ten anyway. I'm slow through the turns, I don't have the confidence to push, we need to understand how to improve and try something different”.
Are you still optimistic?
“It's difficult to say, I just know that we need to try. last year, I got on well, I was fast, but now I'm in more difficulty. The M1 has changed a bit, but I'm mainly riding it in a different way. I'm slower through many turns than I was one year ago and need to find the confidence to push. Right now we're too far from the frontrunners."
Could studying Quartararo's data help?
“I haven't had time to look yet, I will do but I don't know that will be enough to save us. I think we need to find what I need. Today I was struggling in the ridden section and need to understand why”.
Do you expect a long night?
“We need to be in Q2 tomorrow, so we need to work on the setting because there are points where I'm really losing a lot. Vinales was also struggling up until mid-session but then he found a way to improve the bike and he was able to maintain good pace”.
Has Yamaha lost its strong point, corner speed?
“I already said yesterday - gone are the days when the M1 was the quickest bike mid corner, we haven't been able to make the difference there for 3 or 4 years. But the other Yamaha riders did better than me today and I need to be able to ride the bike to the limit”.