Valentino Rossi has launched a stinging attack on Yamaha after another disappointing weekend for him and teammate Maverick Viñales at the Spanish Grand Prix, telling his Japanese engineers that they need to find a solution to their problems soon.
Suffering for the second year in a row at the Jerez circuit with low grip in the hot conditions despite a resurfaced circuit, he says he was lucky to salvage a fifth place finish that keeps him in title contention.
“Fifth place, with my pace this weekend, is not so bad. I was also lucky because three guys in front of me crashed. We gave the maximum and today the race was quite good, but unfortunately this is our potential now. I was a lot faster compared to last year, but it's not enough to fight for the podium. If we want to try to fight for the podium and the victory, we have to speed up our development process. I hope we can do so soon.
“It depends on the track that we’re at because we suffer more at some and less at others, but for me it’s clear what we need to do on the bike to fix it. We need time, but Yamaha have to do some effort to try and shorten that time. If they can’t do that, then we’ll need another season, so I hope that they can give us the maximum support that they can.”
There was some light at the end of the tunnel for him though, with a positive test on Monday meaning that he’s leaving Jerez happier.
“We had a lot of things to do and it was a good test. We tried some different solutions, some were better, some less so, but it was important and we improved a bit. For me, at the next test we'll have something more important to try. The new Michelin tyres are very good, they improved a lot, they gave a lot more grip and you can go faster, so they gave a good feeling.”
Those sentiments were echoed by team boss Massimi Meregalli, who says that the work done by his riders on Monday should reap rewards down the line for them.
“Our main objective for us today was to find a solution to the problems we faced during the weekend. Unfortunately the weather conditions weren't quite as hot and sunny as they were yesterday, but we were still able to successfully compare set-ups by doing back-to-back runs. We also tried some new testing items and it was positive that we noticed a benefit. Now we'll leave the last few days behind us. The new data has lifted the team's mood, and from here we'll fully focus on the future as we prepare for the next Grand Prix in Le Mans.”