Rossi thinks six riders can win
Valentino Rossi reckons there could be more surprise winners in 2017 after last season saw nine different Motogp race victors.
A combination of new control electronics, Michelin tyres and mixed conditions made 2016 the most unpredictable year in modern history.
The Italian said: “Why not another year like last year? It’s not impossible. Maybe nine different riders will be hard, because that’s a strange thing at this level, even though it’s good for Motogp. But there’s at least six riders that can win a race this year.”
Rossi expects to be a front runner after a positive end-of-year test in Sepang. He had left the Valencia test – held straight after last year’s final round – critical of the new machine and the firm’s Japanese engineers, slating the bike for not being different enough to the one that he’d ridden on all year.
But after a private test in Malaysia – where he was able to compare the 2016 and 2017 bike back-toback – he started to see the M1’s full potential. “We didn’t know anything about the 2017 bike before Valencia, but I expected a bigger change than we got. So everyone in the team, and me for sure, was curious.
“Now our bike is very good and strong. We’re fast with the new tyres from the first lap, and where we need to improve is the second
half of the race. We have to be more consistent to the end of a race.”
Team boss Massimo Meregalli said 2016 had been tough. He said: “Our competitors made an improvement while we stayed the same. One of our stronger points is stability in the faster corners. To have that maybe we have to lose some turning. But with the new chassis, it looks like we can gain some of that back. It is better, but still an area that we’d like to improve.”
Rossi is finally warming to his new machine
Unpredictability is one predictable thing about this year’s Motogp, says Rossi