Valentino Rossi struggled to make the top ten for automatic qualification to the Q2 session and afterwards the Italian commented that the new rules favouring the Open riders have clearly put Yamaha and Honda at a disadvantage.
Rossi, who finished the first two days of running in tenth position, commented that the new tyres and lower fuel limits are hurting his speed:
“It looks like they modified the rules and it’s created more problems for the factory Yamaha and Honda! We are in trouble, we suffered a lot with the new tyre from Bridgestone because for us the grip on the edge is not enough and the bike becomes difficult to ride. With 20 litres the bike is very slow. On the straight nothing happens and this is a bad feeling. I am worried about this for the race because for fuel consumption we are very on the limit.”
The change in fuel limits has obviously placed a much greater level of performance on fuel consumption but for Rossi a knock on effect of this has been a change in the engine braking for the Yamaha and much less punch during acceleration:
“On this track I have a bad feeling from the bike. The bike is very slow and very difficult to ride with the engine braking and acceleration. But especially with the longer gear the bike doesn’t push. It is a long, long time since I tried a bike that is so slow in MotoGP. Now with 20 litres the engine goes with air.”
While Aleix Espargaro has been consistently the fastest runner this weekend the group behind him is very close. Rossi commented that behind Espargaro the likes of Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Marquez and Bradl are all running similar race pace. With so much competition the Italian expects that the race should be interesting.
“On paper yes because looking at the timesheets there is more confusion because everybody has the same rhythm. The Ducati is very fast but not just on the extra soft tyre but also even on the hard tyre and the bike improves a lot with 24 litres.”