Valentino Rossi is still suffering with front-end problems on his factory Movistar Yamaha but has admitted he is struggling with the Michelin fronts which are softer this year than before.
The Doctor has been in trouble for most of pre-season and his troubles continued in the opening free practice session in Qatar as he finished in ninth on a 1'55.799 - more than 1.3s slower than team-mate Maverick Vinales.
“What I suffer from is, more than the bike, the front tyre from Michelin. Because they follow a way to the softer side, especially with the casing and also the rubber,” said Rossi, speaking at the track.
“I lose feeling, I have a lot of movement on entry, and I can’t carry enough speed. I said from the first time, it looks like the other riders like. But these are the tyres, and we will try tomorrow.
“My performance was not fantastic. I am in the top 10, this is good, because tomorrow we don’t know about the conditions. But at the end of practice we found something better that can help.
“With the soft tyre the grip improves a lot, so I can push more, I can do a bit better. But I was more worried about the medium tyre, which is the race choice.
“I don’t know, but maybe the modification of the setting can help also with the race tyres. We will see tomorrow, and hoping for good conditions.”