It’s fair to say the full-factory Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP squad have had a rollercoaster first half to the season. Valentino Rossi earned back-to-back podium finishes but since went on a run of three consecutive crashes, equally the worst run of his career. Whereas Maverick Viñales was taken out three times, in Termas, Le Mans and Catalunya, before claiming the Japanese factory’s first Grand Prix win since October at the Dutch TT.
Added to their back-to-back podium success prior to the summer break is more good news for Yamaha, as the first prototype of their 2020 M1 will be unveiled and seen on-track at the Official Test in Brno following the Czech Republic Grand Prix. Team Manager, Massimo Meregalli, admits this is “a good sign” as, in the previous two years, both Viñales and Rossi haven’t been able to taste next year’s bike until later in the year.
“The direction that has been taken is the right one, the good one,” said Meregalli, in conversation with MotoGP™’s Amy Dargan and Matt Birt at the Sachsenring. “To improve smoothness, we have had to give up some power. That’s what we’re paying for the most now, especially on the fastest track. But we still have a lot of work to do. We are now really focused on trying to improve the acceleration because we would like to minimise the difference in top speed.
“We’ll keep working and even if last year we couldn’t show it except the last 5 races of the season, we never stopped. We always work, work, work. Now I can see, already this year, that something changed in Japan, the fact that in Brno and Misano we will test the new bike, it’s a good sign. First of all, both riders will start testing and test the base of next year’s bike. This is good because in the last two years we were unable to do that.”
Meanwhile, following his second place at the German GP, Viñales sounded buoyed with confidence: “I’m really happy because we are getting good results, I’m in a good way and, somehow, we’ve found a way to make the bike work, especially for myself. Being at these two tracks, and I think Montmelo, being able to fight for the victory was very important because last year we struggled a lot. I can’t wait for Brno to try the new bike, the new things and see if we make a step.”
The Brno Official Test will take place on August 5th with comprehensive coverage on motogp.com throughout the day. Stay tuned following the summer break to catch The Doctor and Top Gun’s first thoughts on their 2020 steeds.