Valentino Rossi congratulated Davide Brivio on live TV: “You were great, hats off to you.” The Italian manager replied with elegance and irony: “I learned many things from you. I’m sorry that they’re now playing against you.”
A fun chat between the two, linked by mutual friendship and respect, but the Doctor didn’t have anything else to laugh about in Valencia on Sunday. His race ended after six laps, when the M1 stopped halfway down the track.
“I opened the throttle when exiting Turn 4 and the bike fell silent. I didn’t even get angry. I felt like laughing,” he said. “They told me I had a problem that hasn’t happened in twelve years. But the engine didn’t break down.”
It was a disastrous race for all the Yamahas.
“I think we have a lot to learn from Suzuki. Since we use an inline 4 engine, they said that it was an old concept, but they proved that that’s not the problem. The MotoGP has changed a lot in the last five or six years. In some ways, it’s more similar to the Formula 1, but Yamaha hasn’t taken this step forward. The engineers who deal with the engines in Yamaha have to understand this. Our rivals are not only technically advanced but also advanced from an engineering aspect.”
Yesterday you said that your biggest problem is the engine.
“There’s something wrong. Usually, either you have a fast but fragile engine, or a slower but reliable engine. Ours is slow and breaks down. We have both problems. It’s not just that. One of Yamaha’s strengths has always been its smoothness in delivery. But now it seems that our opponents are better than us in this too. Put all the problems together and understand why we are where we are.”
But the development of the engines for next year is frozen. How can you improve?
“This doesn’t have to be an excuse. In the MotoGP, you can work on many other things, for example on electronics, cooling, mufflers, etcetera, etcetera. If Yamaha works well and in the right direction, we can move forward.”
The M1 seemed like the best bike at the start of the year.
“As it’s already happened many times, we start well, then the other manufacturers bring a lot of innovation and finish the year better than us. But, in this championship, it also depends a lot from race to race. A week ago, Morbidelli had won and, in Valencia, we struggled to find grip. It’s a difficult situation. There seems to be something we haven’t understood.”
Are you also referring to the new Michelin tire?
“From that point of view, there’s not much of a difference, I find it very similar to the old one. It has more grip but also some more durability problems. Yet, in the end, our problems are the same. However, I repeat, our opponents have understood something and we have not.”
Are Quartararo and Vinales the right riders for the work team next year?
“I don’t want to talk about myself, but to say that Yamaha has some great riders. Quartararo, Vinales, and Morbidelli are really strong. With a competitive bike, they would be fighting for the World Championship. The riders aren't the problem.”
What remains of this Sunday?
“It was too bad. I needed to ride, not only to prepare for next week’s race but also for me after my stop. I just needed to do those twenty-seven laps, I had a good start, then I lost some time with Pecco, but I wasn’t doing badly. Then the bike turned off. What do you say in these cases? It’s the fault of one piece worth a euro.”