Valentino Rossi was confused over his lack of pace in the Aragon Grand Prix, which left him 23.6 seconds from runaway winner Marc Marquez in eighth place.
As Marquez firmed for a sixth MotoGP crown with a crushing victory, Rossi proved the slowest of the three Yamahas running at the end with Maverick Vinales fourth ahead of Fabio Quartararo, with Franco Morbidelli wiped out by Suzuki’s Alex Rins early.
Vinales was just 0.4s off the podium after being ousted by the Pramac Ducati of Jack Miller, while Quartararo was just nine seconds off Marquez at the flag.
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Rossi was nowhere all weekend — he was seventh tenths down on Quartararo in qualifying, and was miles behind in the race despite fitting the same hard rear, medium front tyre combination as Vinales and Quartararo.
However, the nine-time world champion was convinced his woes were bike-related, not tyre.
“It’s difficult to fight for the podium because there are three or four guys faster,” he said.
“But today was worse. After some laps, I had to slow down because I didn’t have grip, it happened in Silverstone also.
“But for me, it’s not a problem of the tyres. It’s our problem, we are not okay … we are struggling with lack of grip on the rear.
“When you struggle with lack of grip on the rear, you damage the tyre, so in the end it was a very difficult race.”
Rossi used the same tyre combination during race runs in Friday’s practice sessions, but Sunday’s struggle again left the 40-year-old perplexed.
As his two-year wait for a win rolls on, Rossi looked to the next race in Thailand, where he finished just off the podium behind Vinales in 2018.
“It looks like everyone on the hard had problems [in the Aragon race],” he continued.
“I don’t know if with the soft, we could have been better. During practice, the soft wasn’t good with our bike.
“It’s difficult to say [if the Yamaha will be competitive in Thailand]. Last year, it was a good weekend, we were strong and we fought for the podium.
“Hopefully this year we can be competitive.”