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Rossi: Yamaha no longer "lost" like in 2017-18

Valentino Rossi believes the Yamaha MotoGP team is no longer “lost” after completing the first pre-season test of 2019 at Sepang.

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Rossi: Yamaha no longer "lost" like in 2017-18

On the heels of two disappointing campaigns, Yamaha made operational changes to its MotoGP programme, which included the appointment of a new project leader and the creation of a Europe-based test team led by former Tech 3 rider Jonas Folger.

Rossi finished only 10th overall after the three-day Sepang test, but was left feeling “more optimistic” about the new-look Yamaha outfit.

“For me the bigger thing that I'm happy [with] is, the team, the last two years we were a little bit lost,” Rossi said.

“Yamaha worked, we tried something, but it was always 'boh, we don't know, better, worse, we don't know'. This time, we try something that improves [the bike], we try something that is worse but it's like we have a direction.

“We need time because our opponents are very strong but we are more optimistic.”

Sepang testing reports:

Teammate Maverick Vinales offered a similar assessment, as he reckoned Sepang marked the first test of his tenure with Yamaha in which he could see consistent gradual progress.

“In these two years it's the first test that we go steps ahead day by day, and that's the most important, that day by day the bike was working pretty similar,” Vinales said.

“Not as last year [when] it was working good or bad - but these three days was working pretty good.”

Vinales was quickest by over half a second on the second day of Sepang test, but was relegated to fifth overall on day three, finishing as best of the rest behind the dominant Ducatis.

Despite this, the Spaniard said he was satisfied with a “really good” race simulation, as well as improvements made to the acceleration of the M1 bike.

“Last year they [Honda and Ducati] were some steps ahead, now we are getting closer,” he said.

Rossi, for his part, admitted his deficit to the leading bikes was “quite big” at Sepang, and stressed the need for work on the Yamaha engine's power delivery.

“In the hot lap, we suffer a little bit,” he conceded. "About the pace, looks like we are a bit closer. But I'm quite worried still, if we race tomorrow, I think that anyway we suffer, because we have something else to improve.

“But as the first test it's not so bad. Now Qatar [testing] is in 10 days, I don't think that for Qatar we can have something new, but it is another track, another temperature, will be interesting to understand.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing, Jonas Folger, Yamaha Factory Racing, Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing, Jonas Folger, Yamaha Factory Racing, Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Yamaha Factory Racing garage

Yamaha Factory Racing garage
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jonas Folger, Yamaha Factory Racing

Jonas Folger, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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