Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi has high regards for Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci following the two MotoGP pre-season tests.
Of all the six days of running in Malaysia and Qatar, only twice did Rins finish lower than second with the Spaniard ending up second on three occasions, while he topped Day 2 of the recently concluded test at Losail International Circuit.
His rookie MotoGP teammate Joan Mir did well as well which indicates of a good work done by Suzuki in the winter as it hopes of a progression from their 2018 results. The better showing has not only brought Rins but also Suzuki in limelight.
At the same time, MotoGP champion Rossi has good words for his countryman Petrucci as well, who topped Day 3 of Sepang test, as the Italian readies himself for a big season abode the factory Ducati alongside Andrea Dovizioso.
Rossi feels Rins and Petrucci are right in the mix which also has the likes of Maverick Vinales and Marc Marquez. “For me, Maverick is in great shape. He’s riding very well and in Malaysia and here he is always at the front,” said Rossi after Qatar test.
“The other name is Rins, he has been riding very fast and it looks like the Suzuki has improved – Mir is quick too. The two factory Ducatis, Dovizioso is always very strong but also Petrucci was very impressive in the test.
“And for sure Marquez – these are the guys for me who are at the top.” While Suzuki and Ducati showed it hands during the test, Honda was rather subdued considering that both Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo are recovering from injuries.
It remains to be seen how they stack up during the first race of 2019 in Qatar in two weeks time. Meanwhile, talking about his personal performance, where Rossi finished fifth on the final day of testing, the Italian couldn’t give a definite answer as to where he stands.
“You’re never ready like you want,” he said. “We worked in a good way [in the test], and I was quite strong. I was also strong with the race tyres, my pace is quite good. Also in the time attack I’m not so bad, I’m P5 at the end of the three days which isn’t so bad.
“For me, the race pace is quite good and also we need something more to try and fight, but for me, we closed the gap a lot because we’ve put everything together. I think for this night, we are ready. Let’s see in two weeks if it’s enough.”
For now, it seems like the M1 is a handy bike with how Vinales as well Petronas Yamaha SRT MotoGP riders have been able to extract pace, especially over one lap. How it performs over the race distance – against its competitors – is another case.
“I have been riding really good on the track, I felt like I was going very fast with the amount of grip that the track provided,” said Vinales. “But we need to improve. I don’t have really good grip on the edge, so we need to keep working, especially in that area.
“On the acceleration side we improved quite a lot since Sepang, and at the moment I’m quite satisfied with what we have in the braking area. My race pace is not bad, I tried ten laps just to understand how the bike is doing, but it was very cold for the medium tyres.
“Anyway, I rode quite well, with quite a good rhythm. Maybe I could have pushed a little more. However, we still need to improve for the race. I think we are going to be ready. The race will be very important for us.
“Our bike has really positive points, but also a few negatives, so we now need to come to a conclusion and see where we can improve.” There have been positives from Yamaha side so far but as both riders pointed out, there are areas where they need to work still.
Check out how they fared on Day 3 of Qatar test