Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi now has the bike to win races after a new chassis debuted at the Barcelona allowed him to ride ‘in a better way, yesterday in Holland and he was able to edge out Danilo Petrucci for a thrilling victory.
Rossi has been struggling for corner-entry feel all season but wasn’t prepared to go back to the 2016 frame, so Yamaha’s R&D team had to come up with something that was a hybrid of the good points from both last year’s and the existing 2017 chassis.
“From the first time I tried the bike I don’t feel comfortable in the entry of the corner. I have to force always too much the bike, which is not my riding style and I do not feel fast in the entry – I was not fast in the entry. That moment is a good place for the Yamaha, it is always our strong point so we try to work to improve that area,” said Rossi, speaking at the track.
He was one of only a handful of riders to use the hard rear tyre for the race, run in medium temperatures, but said it was still a risk but one that paid off.
“On Friday we were able to compare the medium and the hard and it depends very much on the bikes I think, and it depends also on different riding styles of the different riders, but very much the bikes. In our bike the hard worked better than then medium.
“We know that the hard for us worked well but the temperature is very low; you have some drops of water, so we were very not sure about the choice, but at the end we did the right choice with the rear and the tyres worked well. From the first moment I started to be optimistic about the victory because I was in front and I could keep a good pace.
“The it started to rain so it was like you had to start another time from zero. I hoped that it don’t increase too much and I fight a little with Danilo, who is always strong in these situations.
“I saw him also suffer when he was in front because when you are in front, it’s a lot more difficult because if there is a little bit more water in one corner, you can throw away a whole race. At the end I think that the rain was less and I started to push more and it was a good last laps.
“I knew that, but you need a good conditions to have the hard so until the last moment, everything was open. Also I know that the other guys at the front are with the medium, but I know in the normal dry conditions we can be stronger with the hard, so I decided to risk.”
Rossi will keep the new chassis to try it again at the Sachsenring - a much shorter and Honda-friendly track historically - in the hope it will enable hi to close down more points on series leader Andrea Dovizioso, who has a seven-point lead over The Doctor.
“On the technical point I am happy because we work a lot and we change the chassis and I am able to ride the bike in a better way. It’s important also for the championship because it’s incredibly open after eight races between a lot of different riders and different bikes, so it’s very interesting.
“I’m very happy and it’s for sure an important victory, like every victory. After one year it’s a great feeling, also because I race motorcycles because of what you feel for five or six hours after the victory – it’s a fantastic feeling.”