Valentino Rossi has given a fascinating insight into why he believes current world champion Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha’s factory YZR-M1 are such a potent combination in the MotoGP world championship.
The Spaniard produced an exhibition in speed and consistency on the second day of this week’s MotoGP test in Sepang today to set a best time of 2.00.282.
That put him 0.369s clear of title rival Dani Pedrosa but a massive 0.783s ahead of Yamaha teammate Rossi, who was fifth for the second day in a row.
It was not only Lorenzo’s outright speed that caught Rossi’s eye, but it was the double MotoGP world champion’s consistency too as he was the only rider capable of reeling off a succession of laps in the 2.00 bracket.
Rossi didn’t manage one sub-2.01 lap as he ended a hot and humid day with a best time of 2.01.065.
Many people have always felt Lorenzo’s high corner speed style honed on a 250cc two-stroke machine has been a perfect fit for Yamaha’s sweet handling YZR-M1, which he has ridden since 2008 in some heated battles with nine-times world champion Rossi.
Today in Malaysia when asked by MCN to offer his thoughts on why the Lorenzo and Yamaha combination was so strong after winning 23 MotoGP races since 2008, Rossi said: “For me the style of Jorge was already good for the M1 because he came from 250s.
And he started to race in MotoGP with the M1, which is a bike more similar to the 250. He is very good because he has been able to improve his style to adapt more to the M1 and now he rides halfway between a pure 250 style and the Honda acceleration trick like (Casey) Stoner.
He doesn't pick up the bike more than Stoner and (Dani) Pedrosa in acceleration but he has very good corner speed, so it is a mix between the two styles. It is because he was very strong in 250s and because he has big experience with this bike.”
Rossi admitted that Lorenzo’s pace today was ‘impressive’ and not realistic for him to be matching at this stage as he continues to reacquaint himself with the YZR-M1 after a shocking two-year spell with Ducati.
He added: “My pace was not so bad. Nothing fantastic but all of them are quite close to me like (Marc) Marquez and (Cal) Crutchlow. Jorge made the difference today because the lap time is very good at 2.00.2 but more impressive is the pace. He is always able to go in 2.00 and it is impressive and he is very fast and he is in good shape. We have strong motivation.”
Rossi was struck by another electrical problem today with one of two 2013-spec YZR-M1 machines he had at his disposal and he said he couldn’t be 100% happy after upsetting the balance of his bike while trying to improve rear traction.
He said: “I am quite happy but we unfortunately we had some problems again this morning. It was a similar electrical problem to yesterday and unfortunately it made us lose some time. In the second part of the practice we work with just one bike but it can happen in the tests. I am not 100% happy because we try to improve the traction exiting the corner, especially when the tyre has done more than 10 laps.
We are able to improve a little bit but we lose the good balance of the M1 and we pay a high price to improve the traction. So the target for tomorrow will be to improve the traction but without losing the balance that is very good. Now we spin a bit too much on the exit of the corner and I hope to improve my time and also my time from the first test.”
For nine pages of coverage from the Sepang test, see the March 6 issue of MCN.