Valentino Rossi has conceded he didn’t find too many differences to the 2020 Yamaha MotoGP prototype during Monday’s post-Czech Grand Prix test.
Despite the 40-year-old toiling through one of the most fruitless seasons in his career to date, there was much optimism in Brno as Yamaha brought new machinery to the test.
While Fabio Quartararo topped the day’s running on the old M1, Rossi managed the sixth-fastest time some four tenths down as Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli were also in the mix.
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There is a two-day test scheduled for 29-30 August at Misano, where Rossi anticipates Yamaha will bring a greater improvement to the new bike’s engine with an eye on more top speed and better acceleration.
While acknowledging there’s more to come, Rossi was adamant Yamaha will certainly need more should they expect to mount a serious title challenge next season.
“We don’t feel a lot of difference, but we expected [that],” he said.
“It’s just a little bit different the engine and is not the [final] 2020 [version].
“It’s just the first prototype. We work, we try something else, but we need more for sure.”
Many discussions this season have been about where Rossi’s future lies beyond 2020, when his current contract expires.
There are also concerns for rival teams in the face of Honda and Marc Marquez’s dominance, with factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso conceding Marquez’s ongoing form is leaving the rest of the paddock in “crisis”.
Vinales finished a disappointing 10th in Sunday’s race, four positions down from teammate Rossi, but had a crack on the 2020 bike in the test and missed top spot by a scant 0.012s.
However, the new M1 will have to wait until the Misano test before it can prove itself, with a post-Grand Prix Brno still lathered in rubber after a busy weekend of racing.
The championship’s next race in Austria may prove to be a struggle for Yamaha, while Silverstone is expected to rough everyone up following a resurfacing in the wake of last year’s race cancellation.
Rossi knows where the 2020 Yamaha can improve, but it’s a matter of the team maximising the package available.
“We try to have more grip, especially from the rear. So we try some different settings because the rest of the bike is the same,” he said.
“We still have a lot of work to do… I think in Misano after Silverstone will be an important test for everybody, because we will have something else [to try].”