Rossi: Yamaha feeling strong

Valentino Rossi has shrugged off his crash in the first day of final pre-season testing in Qatar and declared himself happy with the performance of the new Yamaha M1.

The legendary Italian got off to the worst possible start in Doha with an early spill, but he returned to the track later to set the third fastest time and close to half a second off defending World Champion and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

“I started in a bad way,” he admitted. “After just 10 corners I crashed.”

“I was not [going] very fast, but maybe I made too much angle on the left and the rear slid, but, fortunately, it was a small slide at 70kph, so it was not a big problem – but not fantastic!

“We jumped on the other bike, and we were quite satisfied with today. It looks like here in Qatar our bike is competitive, we can be strong and fast – and this is the most important thing.”


The final round of testing is taking place ahead of the season opener on March 20, with Yamaha especially keen to get their new M1 ‘hybrid’ bike to peak race condition as soon as possible.

Rossi, though, has said the M1 has performed well all the way through testing, and the dominance of Yamaha at the top of the performance charts in Qatar are testament to the work the team have done.

“We start from a good base setup, and I felt in a good way from the first moments and could ride quite fast,” he said.

“I was able to improve always my lap time and ended in third place. A good day.”