Rossi: Yamaha "stronger than last year" despite Jerez letdown

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi remains convinced that the 2019 Yamaha bike is more competitive than last year's version, despite having been less competitive at Jerez than hoped.

Rossi: Yamaha "stronger than last year" despite Jerez letdown

Having featured firmly in the podium hunt in the first three races of the season, Rossi could do no better than sixth from 13th on the grid at Jerez, a track that has exposed the M1's bike weaknesses in recent years.

But the result did not knock Rossi's confidence about his prospects for the year, although he did reiterate Honda rider Marc Marquez's current imperious form is a worry for the title race.

“We are stronger than last year," said the Italian. "The way is long, the challenge is very high, but we work in a good direction. I'm not fully happy for sure because I hoped that also in Jerez, that is a difficult track, we could fight for the podium, but at the end I was a bit more slow.

“But for me we can fight. I'm not so far in the championship, the bigger problem in the championship is Marquez, because he's clearly the faster. So if he don't crash in Austin, already the difference is big.

“But we are there, we are nine points behind, also [Alex] Rins is very strong, also [Andrea] Dovi[zioso], but looks like we can fight for try to make some podiums and try to win some races.”

Rossi was left wondering whether he should've copied his podium-finishing teammate Maverick Vinales' choice of the medium front tyre instead of running the hard – but also believed that missing out on Q2 made his weekend “more difficult”.

“I was never very strong during all the weekend, at the beginning I struggle with [Jack] Miller, but because I was not strong enough to overtake," he admitted.

“Maybe if I go straight to the Q2 I can start in the second or third row, and if I start more in front, I can stay for me with the group of the two Ducati and Maverick, around them.”

Though Rossi finished a place higher at Jerez in 2018, this was aided by a three-bike crash involving Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, and Rossi insisted his 2019 showing was stronger.

“I don't know what we had to expect here in Jerez, I hoped in my heart to be strong like in Austin, for example, unfortunately we struggle a bit more, I was less fast," he said.

“But we have also a lot of good things because also if my position is worse than last year, my race was a lot better.

“Last year I finished fifth but because I have a lot of crashes in front. And the pace of the race [this year] was very, very, very fast, I was like 25 seconds [actually 32 seconds] faster than my race last year, the gap from the first position is less.

"I feel more comfortable with the bike and especially in the last laps I was fast.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

shares
comments
Quartararo smashes lap record in post-race Jerez test

Previous article

Quartararo smashes lap record in post-race Jerez test

Next article

Marquez: Bradl's carbon-covered Honda felt "different"

Marquez: Bradl's carbon-covered Honda felt "different"
Load comments
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Prime

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Prime

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the track's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP Prime

How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP

The 2020 MotoGP season was an enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if you thought the world championship was a poorer place without Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape.

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021
The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP Prime

The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP

The headlines after MotoGP's Austrian GP were naturally dominated by Brad Binder's heroics on slicks in the rain. But although seventh was, on the face of it, a fairly average result in the context of his season, that Fabio Quartararo was in contention for victory before the rain at Yamaha's worst venue should sound alarm bells for his rivals

MotoGP
Aug 17, 2021