If Maverick Viñales is seeing everything in a negative light at the end of the three days in Buriram, Valentino Rossi seems to have a pinch of faith. There is no lack of difficulties for the nine-time world champion, although the last day of tests provided a few positive hints for the Doctor in view of Qatar.
“We were able to improve today, even doing a good time – he began – It was a pity about the mistake I made on the final lap on the last corner where I lost a few tenths, because I could have finished at 1’30”2”.
From Sepang to Buriram, many things have changed.
“In Malaysia we saw a lot of fast riders, whereas here we are seeing a lot struggle – he analysed – I think that the only bike that was fast on both tracks was the Honda with Marquez, as well as Crutchlow and Pedrosa, while the Ducati proved to be very fast with Jorge in Sepang and inconsistent here.”
Valentino knows that a step forward is needed.
“We need to improve, because no great step has been taken on the electronics – he admitted – This is a situation that I need to face today. Maybe in Qatar it will be different and go better. Unfortunately, you never know what will happen.”
One thing is certain: the Yamaha rider did everything he could.
“I gave the engineers all the feedback needed, but it isn’t that easy – he pointed out – As I already said, I do not think that there will be any great changes in view of Losail on the electronics front.”
Without mincing words, Valentino admits that the Thai event proved to be more complicated than expected.
“At the last minute, I managed to be fairly fast, but I won’t deny that we struggled and it was hard. It feels like we are in the same situation as last year. The problem is that we never know what to expect – he added – It’s like playing cards. It is a situation that has only happened to me in my career in 2017 – he continued – Before the tyres were consistent, whereas now everything can change.”
Despite everything, there seem to be a few aspects that play in his favour.
“We worked on weight distribution and now I am able to enter corners faster, feeling strong in acceleration and with the front end too. Unfortunately, we struggle with the rear tyre.
Rossi expounds on this issue.
“With the soft tyre, we are able to be faster, but over race distance we struggle. With the hard tyre, on the other hand, it’s the opposite. We finish the race but we are lacking in performance.”
Compared to Viñales, Valentino demonstrated more competitive performance. This prompted the question as to whether his path is the right one to follow.
“That is actually something that we say for the journalists, but it isn’t true (smiling). I might use some material and he might use other material – he said – I talk to Maverick about the frame and the electronics, but everything depends on the tyres which are good one day and not the next. Personally, I can say that this frame is better, since it is more similar to the 2016 version – Rossi concluded – Here in Buriram, a lot of things were tested, but as I said, a significant step forward was not made.”