The GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini gave an indication that the two Movistar Yamaha MotoGP machines of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales are beginning to turn a corner with the YZR-M1, despite Sunday’s temperatures causing the duo to struggle more than expected in the race.
For Rossi, it was a return to his home GP after being absent from last year’s event and having missed out on a P2 grid slot by just over a tenth of a second in qualifying, while proving his race pace was up there to – at least – challenge for a podium through practice, Sunday’s race never fully materialised for ‘The Doctor’ who eventually crossed the line in seventh.
“Yes it’s a great shame because yesterday I was not too bad and sincerely, I expected to be quite competitive today to try to do a good race because I have a lot of people here, it was a great atmosphere, but unfortunately from this morning we don’t have any more speed,” admitted the nine-time World Champion.
“I suffered very much and was a lot slower compared to yesterday and at the end the bike, the tyres, the setting were exactly the same. Now we try to investigate but it’s a problem that unfortunately happens sometimes with the Yamaha and we need to understand why.”
After starting from the outside of the front row meanwhile, teammate Viñales was able to secure a top five finish in fifth, his best result since his podium at the Sachsenring. This further indicates the step forward he and the team have made after two successful tests and a strong practice at Silverstone, but the Spaniard was disappointed with how different the bike felt from Saturday to Sunday:
“Yeah it’s really difficult because after the start I was actually really happy after the second corner because I say ok now I take the slipstream from the fast guys, I keep it until the end because we were strong in FP4 and I felt like I could do it. But anyway, as always we have quite a big drop from the feelings from Saturday to Sunday, so we have to check better on the bike but it’s still difficult.”
Viñales admitted he and Yamaha have “some ideas to try to improve” ahead of the next round at Aragon, so can either he or Rossi find a way to climb onto the podium before the Asian leg of the season begins?