Rossi under the weather, but praises new Yamaha

Despite struggling with illness at Sepang on Monday, Valentino Rossi was still able to put a positive spin on the first day of MotoGP testing.

Battling what he labelled an "unbelievable" headache that forced him to be 90 minutes late for the session, Rossi did manage to get some time on his new M1, and he was impressed with what he saw.

Sporting a new engine and electronics, Rossi said the bike was a significant step up from what he experienced during testing in November, with improvements to "all the small particulars”.

Last season, the M1 struggled to preserve its rear tyre in the second half of the race, and the early signs were that there had been improvements in that area.

Despite his illness, Rossi finished eighth on the day, while his team-mate Maverick Viñales placed third.

“Fortunately [the new bike's] better,” said Rossi, who finished 1.014s off Casey Stoner's incredible best time. 

“I mean today was very interesting because we tried the real bikes, my bikes that I will use for all the season. In Japan they worked hard and made a better bike compared to the prototype we had in November. 

“The engine, we work a lot on the electronics and in terms of chassis, this is the same. But tomorrow we will have another chassis, slightly different, after our comments with the first prototype. But the bike is very beautiful. 

“We never know a lot from Yamaha. Yesterday we saw the bike. They made a good job. The bike is very good under all the small particulars. It's a lot better than the first prototype. And it was a good surprise. But for sure we have a lot to work on. 

“For me our bigger problem last year was that we stressed too much the rear tyre and we suffer in the last laps. In fact, we work a lot from that point of view and we have some interesting things.” 

On the illness he was dealing with, he said, “[It was] Bad. This morning I woke up with an unbelievable headache. I suffer a lot. I had to stay in the room with no light, no sound for one hour and a half to try and recover. 

“Maybe it was the air conditioning or the flight. I don't know. But I don't feel very well. Sincerely we start to train quite hard but we don't have a lot of time because we have a lot to do. I am not at the maximum.”