MotoGP: Old gremlins return for Yamaha at Jerez

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Yamaha’s old gremlins with a hot track have returned at Jerez, with Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales struggling in hot temperatures on the opening day of action at the Spanish Grand Prix.

A huge issue for them in 2018, they had hoped that a new bike and a resurfacing of the Andalusian circuit would have made things a little easier for them, but speaking after the day’s opening two free practice sessions Rossi was disappointed to come home in ninth.

“It was a difficult day, especially in the afternoon, because in the morning I wasn‘t so bad, with the lower temperatures, but unfortunately with the higher temperatures we suffered. I‘m not happy with the balance of the bike, we need to improve, but we‘re also in trouble with the tyres. After some laps we lose grip and it looks like we have to slow down more than our opponents, so I think that will be difficult, but it‘s only Friday. We need to work and improve and we will try to better our understanding tomorrow.”

However, missing out on the chance to test at the Spanish track during the pre-season, team boss Massimo Meregalli says that they’re not worrying too much about things just yet.

“We knew that we would have a bit of catching up to do on the first day of riding in Jerez, because we didn't attend the test here earlier this year, but we expected to be doing better by this stage. Both our riders gave positive feedback about the new asphalt - its surface is better, but grip-wise it wasn't as good. As in the past, the lap times change quite drastically depending on the temperatures.

“We used both sessions to collect as much information as possible, trying various set-ups and tyre specifications. Ultimately, when we put on the soft tyre to do the time-attack, our expectations were not met. We have to improve the speed and the pace - the latter is the most important for the race. We only have two sessions to do it, but I'm confident that our engineers will come up with a good solution.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer