Yamaha top speed deficit leaves Rossi "worried"

Valentino Rossi admits he is "worried" by the top speed deficit Yamaha faces compared to its MotoGP rivals after a subdued second day of Qatar testing.

Yamaha top speed deficit leaves Rossi "worried"
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On the penultimate day of 2019 pre-season running, Rossi ended up down in 19th place, 1.202s off the pace set by Alex Rins, while factory Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales was secondquickest.

The seven-time premier class champion pinpointed the M1's lack of top speed as one of its biggest weaknesses, having logged a best speed of only 334.3km/h (207.7mph) on Sunday.

By comparison, Honda pair Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow topped the speed charts at 346.1km/h (215.1mph).

"Unfortunately we are bit a slow in the straight," said Rossi. "For some reason at Sepang, not very much, here in Qatar we have a big gap, maybe because we struggle on the exit of the corner.

"I said last November we had two different engines [to try], I decide for one, and this is the engine.

"But the disadvantage here compared to Honda and Ducati, which is more than 10km/h in the straight, we are bit worried. At this moment, it’s like this."

Explaining why he was so far down the timesheets on Sunday, Rossi added: "Yesterday [Saturday] we had a base setting, and I was not so bad, today we tried to improve, we tried some different settings and materials.

"But unfortunately we don’t improve. Was a difficult day. I was always too slow. We are not happy."

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Vinales: Current bike the best of my Yamaha tenure

While more upbeat about his day, Vinales pinpointed a lack of acceleration as an area where the Iwata brand is still giving away "some tenths" to its rivals.

"For sure the bike is working quite well, I think is the best bike we had since two years ago," said the Spaniard.

"But the competitors make really good steps forward so we need to keep working, especially on the acceleration. I think right now we lose quite a lot in that area.

"In Sepang not so much but here is [more], tomorrow [Monday] I think with a different system we can maybe win [back] some top speed that is gonna be very important, especially for the race.

"At the moment the right way to focus is for sure on acceleration. We are very fast into corners and also in the corners but now we are losing on the exit."

When Vinales' comments about Yamaha being the strongest it has been since he joined the squad in 2017 were put to Rossi, the Italian replied: "If he says [so], I’m agreed.

"Sincerely I suffer always a bit too much about rear grip, especially today. We try some different things for improve, because yesterday was the base and was not so bad.

"For me, we are not strong [enough] for win. We have still a disadvantage compared to the best bike. [But] I hope with all my heart that I’m wrong and Maverick is right!"

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

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