Valentino says that “he needs to focus on the weekend”, but all of the interest surrounds Yamaha's Monday test. Some new updates for the electronics of the M1 should arrive from Iwata, a request that the Doctor himself made a while ago but that hasn't yet been met.
“we'll have something to test, but nothing big. They are still working and to it takes time to see big changes. Fortunately something is moving".
What do you mean?
“I spoke to Yamaha about this issue in August of last year, at the Austrian race, but nothing happened until May. Now they agree with me, there are other people working but they are focusing on this area”.
What has been Yamaha's mistake?
“It took the wrong approach to the ECU. The change to the regulation was meant to reduce the gap between the factory bikes and satellite machines, to have less perfect races. Yamaha believed in this philosophy, the others didn't and they found a way to get the new electronics working like the old”.
Like when Yamaha debuted in MotoGP with a 900 cc engine rather than a 1000 like everyone else…
“Ducati and Honda have a more aggressive approach, Yamaha is more laid back. It's true, it came up with a smaller engine that what was permitted. They need to be spurred on ”.
Electronics may be further restricted in 2019, might that be a problem?
“No, we'll continue to work for this season. From what I know, they want to further limit electronics but from what I've learned throughout my career, it will only be a matter of time before we are back to current levels. With the electronics, the limits last just months”.
Time is ticking on and Yamaha hasn't won for a while.
“It's a real pity for everyone, for me, for Vinales and also for Yamaha. I know what we're missing but it takes time as I've said”.
How bothered are you about not winning?
“I race to win, even after winning I immediately want to do it again. The more time goes on, the worse it is, but it's not creating big problems in the garage. Everyone works hard and we've been able to complete some good races anyway”.
Does age help you to take a more philosophical view?
“There's always anger but when I was younger I was desperate after a third-place finish while now I can be quite happy with it, I can enjoy it more”.
Is the podium the goal at Brno?
“Of course, also because I'm coming off the back of my best result of the season at the Sachsenring. I say it again, we need to try and take that final step. Last year I was strong at Brno, a pity that with the flag to flag I stopped one lap too late and missed out on the podium. I'm interested to see how fast we are this year, both Maverick and I have been able to improve the balance of the M1, but the work's not over yet”.
Are the holidays already a distant memory?
“I think everyone would have liked another week of rest. On the other hand, we have very few back to back races this season, so the calendar has its pros and cons”.
Photo © Fermino Fraternali