As often happens, it is a question of perspective. Valentino’s 4th place in Austin can be a bitter disappointment over a missed podium or a good result on a track like Austin which has never held great satisfaction in store for Yamaha.
Rossi is undecided between the two versions: “All told, it did not go badly. It was a rather positive weekend, but I am also a bit disappointed because I had hoped to battle for the podium” he says.
Did you think so before the start?
“I knew that both Marquez and Viñales were faster, but I had hoped to have the potential to battle with Iannone. I tried, but because of the higher temperatures, I struggled with the front tyre: I was too much at the limit and I went slower than I had expected. I wasn’t able to stay close to Andrea and that was a pity. It would have been nice to at least have had a go.”
Did you have doubts about the rear tyre selection too?
“Yesterday I was happy with my pace and the medium was the right choice for our bike. With the hard I would have suffered.”
How do you explain Viñales’ greater speed?
“First I want to have a look at the data. Our bikes had slightly different setups. In any case, Maverick had a few more tenths than me.”
What is the overall result of this very early part of the season?
“Last year in these first three races I was very fast. I had finished on the podium consistently and was leading the championship. However, when we arrived in Europe I struggled, so I am curious to see what happens now because I feel good on the bike. The upcoming races will be important to see if we are competitive.”
Also because his rivals are growing. Suzuki is back on the podium…
“They have improved a lot, especially in terms of power output and electronics. They have two riders who are strong. I think that they will give us problems often because they are good and they work well.”
And then there is Honda…
“It’s worrying. They are doing very well and it is a bike that does well in any conditions. However, we need to think about ourselves and here, on a track that is not favourable to the Yamaha, we put two bikes in the top 4 spots.”
Someone who is in great difficulty, on the other hand, is Lorenzo. What do you think, having gone through this yourself?
“It is a difficult and frustrating situation. As for me, it was not easy to continue believing in myself and to find the motivation. Lorenzo is a very strong rider and he will do better already in Jerez.”
Is the only solution to change, like you did?
“I wouldn’t know. It is something that you have to feel for yourself.”