Rossi pleased with day one efforts
Having set the pace for the majority of the opening day of the Sepang test Valentino Rossi was piped by Marc Marquez in the closing moments for the fastest time. The Italian however came away pleased with his efforts.
Speaking after the day Rossi said that the biggest challenge for any rider in the opening test of the year is adapting to getting back onto a MotoGP bike after almost three months on the sidelines since the post Valencia Grand Prix test:
"It's always a big emotion to get back on the bike after three months," said Rossi. "You always have the feeling that you might forget the way to ride! But I'm still able to ride so it's good and I was competitive from the beginning to the end and I did a good laptime with the older tyre and the new tyre."
Rossi ended the day just one tenth of a second off the time set by Marquez but whereas the Spaniard set his time in the closing minutes, when the temperature dropped and the field used fresh tyres, Rossi was able to set his fastest time in the afternoon when conditions were arguably at their most brutal during the day.
The performance of Rossi will give him plenty of hope for the season. While it will be later in the season that Yamaha will have their seemless downshift gearbox, the team commented that they could test the part at Sepang 2, this was an important day for the team as they look to prove that they can compete with Honda over a full season having been strong in the second half of 2014.
To be able to do this Rossi admitted that finding pace in the final five laps of the race will be crucial. Marquez has consistently excelled in being able to maintain performance with a used tyre and finding a way to compete with that will be key for Yamaha this season:
"I'm happy also because it looks like the difference between us and the factory Honda is the same as the end of last year and we are close. We are working to keep our pace on the used tyre in the last four laps of the race because at the end of last year we were losing time compared to Marquez in these laps. For the last four or five laps he could keep a good pace so that is what we need to improve on."