Despite his wealth of experience, Valentino can still be surprised and today brought one happy example of this. “Seeing all the Yamahas going so fast is a surprise to me, but also a great feeling” he comments with a smile, referring to the four M1s inside the top five positions at Misano. The Iwata bike was already quick in testing, but confirmation was needed in a race setting.
Valentino, why this competitiveness?
“Honestly I don't know, but I'm pleased anyway! Usually, when the track offers little grip, like here, we suffer but today we were fast”.
A good start.
“Definitely. As I said, all the Yamahas have been competitive, even in different configurations. This doesn't mean our work is done, as I still have a lot to do. The balance of my bike isn't fantastic and I'd like more traction. I also need to take a step in terms of the flying lap to be closer to Vinales and Quartararo”.
You used the carbon swingarm, the new silencer and also the front wheel cover, is Yamaha giving you what you want?
“They are working hard and in the right direction. We hadn't tried anything new since Brno 2016 and if there was anything, it was never obviously better. A difficult period technical-spaeaking, in which the gap to our rivals increased”.
So does 2019 signify a turning point?
“Something changed early on, new people came in, particularly in Japan but also in Europe and we're staring to see the effects of this change. I like the new pieces and will continue to use them, but the M1 is also good in its standard version here, like that used by Quartararo and Morbidelli”.
You're 4th today, how do you feel about the race?
“I haven't worked a lot on pace today, because I had other things to do. The track is very different to how it was a year ago, and the conditions were different to what we had in testing. The new pieces seemed clearly better to me during the test but today I had to readapt the set-up”.
Did you get it all done?
“I still have work to do to match Fabio and Maverick on the flying lap and there's not only Yamaha... Marquez and Rins didn't put in the fresh tyre at the end so I'm sure they'll be competitive too".
At Silverstone, before the race, you were optimistic but then things didn't go to plan. Could that happen again?
“In the UK I had a problem with the rear tyyre, and I still don't know why. It's only Friday and early to talk about the race. I promise I'll be able to tell you more on Sunday, at about 3pm” (he laughs).