MotoGP: Rossi and Viñales ‘in trouble and don’t know why’

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If wet conditions continue at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix as forecast, Movistar Yamaha racer Valentino Rossi says he’s all but written off any chances of success, as he and teammate Maverick Viñales continue to struggle with the M1 machine’s lack of grip in the wet.

A season-long problem that the Japanese firm seemed to be making some headway on in recent races, an abysmal opening day at Motegi that saw the pair 11th and 12th left Rossi forlorn after the day’s action.

“We’re in trouble and we don’t understand why. Last year I was very competitive in the wet and I had a good feeling with the old bike, but this year we’re struggling. We’ve tried to modify the bike, but in the end we’re far from the top. It’s the same as the problem in the dry – we don’t have rear grip.

“When you look at the data from the old bike, you just think ‘fuck, no way.’ It’s a big frustration and we really need to understand the way for next year. We’re worried, because today we did a lot of modification and in the end it didn’t work. There’s not a lot more to do now this weekend, so we need to start thinking about next year.”

And while Rossi’s broken leg last month means his hopes of remaining in title contention were already done and dusted, teammate Viñales was left watching his chances slip away thanks to their problems.

“It’s been challenging throughout the year to be strong in the wet. We didn’t find a good set-up so far. The gap to the front is quite big, so we have to try to better the setting of the bike to improve the rear grip. It’s a pity, because the conditions weren’t really tricky and the grip level of the track was good. We still have tomorrow’s sessions to find a solution.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer