History repeats itself, and the ending is not a happy one for Valentino. The Doctor also surrendered before his problems in Valencia, riding in the middle of the group, without any great moves. They know the problem, but the solution continues to escape him, and the results go hand in hand. Ending the year with an 8th place is not what he hoped for, but now all that remains is to hope for the future.
"It was a difficult race, like the whole season. I can't be happy with it and, unfortunately, there's a half empty glass." He doesn't ignore the usual final outcome. "I was hoping for it to go better, but I ended up having lots of problems. It was a tough year, but it's over."
What happened today in the race?
"What unfortunately has already happened to me other times in this last part of the season. I start with not enough grip on the rear tire and, after about ten laps, the worst situation. We know the problem, but we have not yet managed to solve it."
Did the track conditions have an influence on this?
"They were at the limit for racing. It was very cold but, in the warm up this morning, with 10 degrees less, after 18 laps with the same tire, I was at 1'31"7, while I was a second slower after 13 laps in the race. But it's a problem I always have. At Sepang, for example, everything went well. I don't know why it happens. Even Vinales was in trouble today. Only Quartartaro didn't have problems."
Does Quartararo mask the problems the M1 has?
"I don't think Yamaha makes mistakes from the past, hiding behind Fabio's results. They know very well that we have problems, and we need to improve to start winning again. I believe that Quartararo's arrival has been only positive for Yamaha. He was faster than I expected."
What's cooking for Tuesday's tests?
"There will be something new, even if I can't be more precise at the moment. They're working mainly on the engine, but also on the frame and electronics."
Is maximum speed the main thing lacking?
"It is definitely fundamental to fight for the victory. They know this at Yamaha, and they're working on it."
The M1 is not the fastest MotoGP, but yours is often the slowest...
"I don't know why. I'm the tallest rider, but I also was 5 years ago, and I didn't suffer that much. Logically, having problems in acceleration also affects speed because you exit corners slower. Do I agree with a weight limit for a bike plus rider? Of course I do. Now bigger riders have more of a disadvantage, and the MotoGP is the only class in motor sports that doesn't consider this, but I don't think things will change."
David Munoz will be debuting in your garage Tuesday as chief technician. What do you expect from him?
"First of all, these tests will be important in understanding how to work together. We'll have to do it differently than now. The objectives will be to improve strategy in qualifying and, above all, solve the problems I've had since the Austrian Grand Prix. Logically, I want a better 2020 than 2019. I think my potential is greater."
The season will be closing in Valencia next year as well, and you were very critical about this decision.
It was 5 degrees tonight. Until a few years ago, the weather was better, but now we're in the middle of winter, and racing in such low temperatures was dangerous today. I understand that it's important for Dorna to end the season in Spain, but it would be smarter to anticipate the Valencia race and finish in Sepang. In the end, they're the ones who decide."