The Misano test has concluded and Valentino Rossi has definitely proved something. #46 set his best time on the penultimate lap of the day, having done so yesterday on his very last lap, a sign that his body is not feeling its 40 years. “unfortunately I'm not better than a 20-year old (he laughs) but I'm fairly in shape, I'm doing OK”.
jokes aside, the two days in Italy have put a smile back on Rossi's face, the rider aware that Misano hasn't always been happy hunting ground for the Yamaha in the past.
“I was quite pessimistic about this track before the test, as last year went quite badly and I finished seventh having struggled all weekend. Now I'm more optimistics, and think I can run a good race. Then, after Misano, there are other tracks I like where we can do well. Being competitive at an unfavourable track is very positive. There are many Yamahas up front, also thanks to the young guys who are going strong”.
From a technical standpoint, things seem to be on the right track, at least in terms of this season's new parts.
“It was a positive test because we were quite fast, which is the most important thing. We had different things to test for both this year and next and improve both grip and acceleration. Both the carbon swingarm and the exhaust have improved the bike. It's more stable now, with more acceleration and is easier to rider. The front brake cover? We need it to go fast and it looks good, we've only added it for that reason (he laughs)”.
Lastly, Rossi touches on the track grip, considered minimal by many riders: “i expected worse. Everyone was talking about grip problems but I did OK, espcially this afternoon when the situation improved”.