Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi believes he now has a setup that will work better with the new front Michelin after finishing Friday MotoGP practice in Austin in much better shape than Qatar or Argentina.
Rossi used a soft/soft combination to set the fourth-quickest time but still admits he is a long way behind team-mate Maverick Vinales and Marc Marquez in terms of pace over race distance.
“We don’t change the bike a lot from Argentina and already this morning I was in the top ten and not so far. It looks like we are still able to do some adjustment, but the base setting we understand more,” said Rossi, speaking at the track.
“After Qatar I expected better but then in Argentina I suffered a lot. But in Argentina we modified very much the balance, and now I have a better feeling. We understand something important.
“You know, it’s never finished, also because for example in the pace Vinales and Marquez are a lot faster than me. But compared to the other two races, it’s better. I can ride the bike in a better way and I think that for me, now, the soft front tyre casing is okay.
“In the afternoon I did a good lap with the soft tyres, I’m fourth. But on the pace we still have to work. Especially braking, it’s difficult to stop, but for sure compared to Qatar and Argentina, this is a better start.”
Michelin will take the hard-cased tyre that was due to make an appearance at Rio Hondo to the Jerez test for evaulation.
“For me it’s still good to try the other casing, but not just for me, for everybody. Because I feel a bit more stable but is also very positive that we are able to fix the bike to use these tyres and after we will see what happens,” he concluded.