Why Rossi still rules
We’re now eight races and five tests into the Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales teammate relationship, and up until now it’s been all sunshine and smiles, with many in the paddock amazed at how well the new boy and the old hand, notorious for turning teammates and rivals into quivering wrecks, were getting along.
But, with the pressure now bearing down firmly on Viñales’ shoulders and Rossi getting into his stride as the championship returns to the European circuits that he loves, Viñales might finally be starting to get a taste of what it means to come under the kind of pressure that few are able to exert quite like nine-time champion Rossi.
It all started at the Barcelona test where Rossi laid the blame for Yamaha’s struggles so far this year on his team- mate’s shoulders, protesting that his issues with the new chassis had been overruled by the new wünderkind.
And, with Rossi on winning form, the next few rounds may well be where we finally get to see what the young pretender is made of. Struggling on multiple occasions and sometimes at a loss to explain why, Viñales looks is beginning to show some chinks. That’s a dangerous place to be with Rossi breathing down your neck, and how Viñales handles it at Sachsenring, Brno and Austria should define whether he’s ready for title success in 2017... or not.
‘He is notorious for turning rivals into wrecks’