The two Yamaha riders differ on the performance of the new M1 following the tests in Valencia and Jerez.
While Maverick Vinales seems optimistic about their chances in the new season, Valentino Rossi is not so happy still with the Italian hinting on more work needed to be done to be able to fight Honda, Ducati and even Suzuki now.
The team were focused more on the engine side in the two tests in Valencia and Jerez, although the chassis was also being looked upon. “I think from the engines that we tried in these days, it’s quite easy to make a decision,” said Rossi.
“We worked and it was a little bit better, we improved the pace especially. For me, we have a lot of work to do, especially if we want to try and be competitive with Honda and Ducati, but also with Suzuki.
“So, I hope Yamaha continue to work and push to have something better in February. We have to work in all the areas. We still suffer for me. These two tests are not so bad, especially this one, but we need to continue to work.”
Rossi found himself outside the Top 10 in the recently concluded test at Jerez but teammate Vinales was consistently inside the Top 5 against the Ducati and Honda riders. “So far we’ve kept a really good rhythm,” he said.
“We’ve done a lot of work on used tyres and I’m actually really happy because when I tried to push for one lap, the bikes responded quite well. I know we can improve the chassis quite a lot, but right now we are focusing a lot on the engine.
“For me it’s quite clear, let’s see now what we discuss, after the meeting we’ll decide what we’re going to do. The important thing was to find the base and now for Malaysia, we have to improve the top speed a little bit, that will be very important for long tracks.
“We need more traction, this is still our weak point. But overall I think we have a really competitive bike. As I said we didn’t play with the chassis, we just wanted to try the engines, the lap time was there, very consistent.
“I was able to keep high 38s and low 39s on the pace, so this is really good I think. So let’s see, I was riding when the track conditions were worse to try to improve myself and I’m actually really happy.”
From the team’s side, they are working on the feedback provided by the two riders and the data gathered from the test. Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli admitted that there is two different requirements but they are working to a common ground towards 2019.
“After completing 60% of the programme earlier in Valencia, we had quite a full-on programme here in Jerez, because we intended to make a decision on the engine specs at the end of these two days,” he said.
“Both Maverick and Vale have given clear feedback and have agreed on a direction, so I think we’re close to making a decision. There do remain some different points of view on certain aspects, which we will work on clarifying during the 2019 pre-season tests.
“But for now we have a sense of which base we should work with. We were looking for smooth power delivery and engine brake, which is especially something Maverick was asking for, because it suits his riding style.
“We also worked on improving the tyre life, which was a concern during the 2018 season. We’ve made progress, but we need to keep working. The engineers in Italy and Japan will go over the data thoroughly to come up with further steps to try at the first upcoming test in Sepang, at the start of February, next year.”