The Motegi GP opens the October triple-header and for Yamaha it will be an important event. As well as racing in front of the Japanese bosses, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales want to understand whether the performance of two weeks ago truly represents the M1's potential or whether it was simply a one-off owing to track characteristics.
There, the Doctor only just missed out on the podium, passed by his team-mate in the final stages. But it's better to focus on the present rather than looking to the past: “After the Grand Prix in Thailand I went back to Italy, because I didn't want to stay away for five consecutive weeks. So I went back to Italy for one week and stayed at home and trained to get ready for the three races in a row. I came to Japan feeling quite optimistic that I can be strong here too".
So, Rossi is confident ahead of the Japanese event: “Usually Motegi is a good track for me, I like it. I hope it will be dry, because last year was a nightmare, it was always wet. We'll see what happens at the upcoming three races, not just this one in Japan. If we really improved the bike last time round, we should be competitive at the next three GPs".
On the other side of the garage, Maverick Vinales seeks confirmation: “After the GP in Buriram my thoughts were that a race and a weekend like the last one should be normal for us, we were back where we should be. We had made a positive change to the bike and I felt very good. In Thailand my strong points were corner speed and I was also very fast at the turn-in."
Attention now turns to Motegi: “I'm very curious to get to Motegi and find out if it was the tyres or the new configuration that made the difference. Motegi is a very special circuit for us because it's Yamaha’s home Grand Prix. It will be very important to do a good performance in Japan."