Yamaha proved they have what it takes to win in MotoGP this year by taking the top three slots at the final pre-season MotoGP test yesterday. Rossi was fastest, followed by Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow in third.
Despite early wet conditions, the Spanish cicruit dried up later in the day and gave Valentino the chance to let rip and show what the move back to Yamaha really means.
In the afternoon’s dry spell and on a European circuit he knows well, the nine time Champion rose quickly to the top of the timesheets, staying there until the close of the day and reminding everyone that the special relationship between ‘the doctor’ and the M1 appears to have not lost its magic.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo, Saturday’s fastest rider in the wet, was just 0.015 seconds behind Rossi as today’s session ended, the reigning World Champion continuing to stay on the pace at the sharp end of the time scores. Tech3 satellite rider Cal Crutchlow was next in the standings.
Rossi said: “Yesterday was very positive for us, I’m so happy, especially because we used a different style of setting. It is very important for us to understand this setting, which can help and affect my riding style to ride the bike in a better way and stay more constant, especially with good lap times on old tyres. To make the first position with a time of 1m 39.5 is good and also staying at the level of Jorge more or less. Me and my team are very happy with the pace and I think we will try to continue to work on this way.”
Speaking about his second place finish at the test, Jorge Lorenzo said: “The track was dry but not in perfect condition yesterday, there was not so much grip on the track and we had some problems on the acceleration of the corners where the bike was not very stable. In general it was a very positive test. We worked on suspension and electronics and we saw that compared to Austin the Yamahas’ were much more competitive. We ended in the three first positions and that is good for the motivation of the brand. The track is not in the best condition, it’s dry but it’s not perfect because of the rain. I think we have to focus on getting more stability on acceleration and get more comfortable with race pace.”
1. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 39.525s (Lap 29/46)
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory (YZR-M1) 1m 39.540s (22/34)
3. Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 39.574s (29/44)
4. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 39.630s (31/31)
5. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 40.322s (21/30)
6. Alvaro Bautista ESP Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 40.686s (25/35)
7. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda (RC213V) 1m 40.714s (21/36)
8. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda (RC213V) 1m 40.783s (30/32)
9. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 41.088s (15/15)
10. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 1m 41.325s (29/35)
11. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.376s (22/25)
12. Bradley Smith GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 41.398s (28/41)
13. Aleix Espargaro ESP Aspar (ART CRT) 2m 41.444s (44/48)
14. Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 41.529s (31/32)
15. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Rider (GP13) 1m 41.603s (25/32)
16. Randy De Puniet FRA Aspar (ART CRT) 1m 41.686s (24/34)
17. Claudio Corti ITA Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 41.701s (24/26)
18. Ben Spies USA Pramac Racing (GP13) 1m 41.702s (28/29)
19. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB (ART CRT) 1m 41.916s (23/35)
20. Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 1m 42.050s (21/32)
21. Bryan Staring AUS Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 1m 42.107s (39/39)
22. Colin Edwards USA Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 42.154s (31/33)
23. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 1m 43.959s (25/25)
24. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM CRT)* 1m 44.185s (16/21)
25. Lukas Pesek CZE IodaRacing (Suter-BMW CRT)* 1m 44.874s (25/33)
* Control ECU.
Picture thanks to Yamaha Racing