Yamaha is in desperate need of a turnaround in a season that is becoming an increasing disappointment. The Aragon race was a real low point and it's hoped that a change of air, and the first in a series of long-haul races, will do the M1 some good.
The men in blue are under no illusions as they arrive in Thailand, well aware of how things went during winter testing. On that occasion, one Yamaha did prove fast, but it was that of Zarco. The Frenchman placed second at the end of the 3-day test, just 0"086 of a second from Pedrosa. Vinales meanwhile finished 8th, almost half a second back, while Rossi was 12th (0”730).
"We weren't able to fully complete our schedule, so this weekend we have important work to do” states team manager Massimo Meregalli.
If Valentino wants to hang on to 3rd place in the standings, he'll have to work hard and immediately identify the right path. Also because the Chang International Circuit is not one of the Doctor's favourites.
“After so many European races, it's time to go to Thailand. We did a pre-season test there in February. Buriram is not one of my favourite circuits but it will be another important weekend to improve our bike and a good opportunity to meet the Asian fans, who are very passionate about MotoGP. As always, we will do our best to make it a good race weekend. My goal is to return to the fight for the podium and get some good results overseas."
Maverick Vinales is also optimistic, keen to put the recent Spanish weekend behind him.
“The Aragon race was sincerely a GP to forget. Now I want to just look forward and be as focused as possible to finish the season in the best possible position. We will start the Asia tour by going to Thailand first. The Chang circuit is very demanding because of the high temperatures. But it makes me very happy to ride there as it will be the first time we get to race in Buriram. We were already there during the pre-season test, but we did not go very fast, because we were still looking for the correct set-up of the bike. Still we‘ll arrive with great expectations."