ROSSI: ‘I HAD NO GRIP AFTER SEVEN LAPS’
The Doctor slumps to eighth in a race he won a year ago, but still has high hopes
Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales slumped to their worst results of 2017 with the Yamaha duo hit by acute rear grip issues leaving them unable to either qualify or race anywhere close to what was expected.
Speaking to MCN after the race, Rossi, who won the race last year, but eventually took the chequered flag in a distant eighth place this time round, admitted that the rear grip issues combined with other problems with the new specification machine means that the weekend turned into a lost cause.
“For me the main problem is that the bike has more understeer, and that the problem became very big for the rear tyre. In the end that is the biggest issue, because 10 laps from the end I was very much in trouble and had to slow down so much. It was impossible to exit the corners fast. But also there was a lack of turning that I’ve felt with this bike since the first time I tried it. I’ve always suffered with it, sometimes more and sometimes less.
“We are very sad about the weekend and about the result, because it’s one of my favourite tracks and we expected a good race. Last year it was a great race and I won. But we had the small worry that we could suffer here like we did in Jerez.
“It’s very strange that in the two races I won last year we suffer this year – they’ve been the worst two. We tried a lot of different things but we were never fast enough and the race was very difficult.”
Designed to improve tyre life, especially in the final part of the race, it seems that Yamaha’s engineers went too far in the wrong direction with the new chassis, ending up with something that means Rossi and Viñales are now unable to be competitive, especially in lower grip conditions like they encountered in Barcelona.
Yet, despite having such good success with the bike last year at both the Catalan and Spanish rounds where they’ve struggled this year, Rossi says there’s no plans just yet to switch back to the 2016 chassis that worked in his favour. Instead, they plan to trial a series of parts at Monday’s test at the Montmelò circuit designed to help fix the issues.
However, with the championship now heading to the cooler conditions of northern Europe for the next four rounds in Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, Rossi says that while things might not be the way they’d like, they’re far from being out of the 2017 title race.
“It’s still very tight, and there’s five riders separated by only 28 points. We have to concentrate on the future instead, and it’s positive that we were able to test at a track where we struggled. We have to improve the speed and feeling with the bike.”
‘We are sad about the weekend because it’s one of my favourite tracks’ VALENTINO ROSSI
Rossi adjusts his front end