Valentino Rossi declared himself happy with his performance on the opening day of practice in Brno, the Italian finishing second fastest using Yamaha’s longer life YZR-M1 motor for the first time.
The 30-year-old logged a best time of 1.56.994 to finish 0.399s adrift of Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo as the factory Yamaha duo dominated the opening day in the Czech Republic.
Dani Pedrosa was over 0.5s slower than Rossi as the reigning world champion assessed Yamaha’s new in-line four-cylinder motor.
New rules that came into force today mean riders can only use five engines for the final seven races and Rossi said: “The new engine is a bit more tired and it’s more soft. The old engine was more aggressive and it’s a pity for sure. It is worse but now the target of all the engineers is to comeback to a normal performance and I hope by the end of the season to arrive at the same level as before. It is not a big difference anyway. It is less enjoyment with the softer engine but we have the same revs.”
Rossi said he was content with his performance, despite a front-end issue for much of the session.
“Today was not so bad and already I’m quite competitive. I was fast from the start and at the end Jorge was faster than me. In some points of the track he is better but I had some problems with the front-end. I had a lot of understeer and also I had some problems with the tyres because the hardest don’t provide enough grip because the surface is not in the perfect condition. The level of the time is already high with 56.5 for Jorge and 56.9 for me, this is a good start and it looks like our bike is very competitive and fast. We have a good set-up but now we have to make it better. We need a better balance to have better turning and a better feeling from the front, “added Rossi.