MotoGP Raceweek: Quartararo targets first win after San Marino heartbreak

Fabio Quartararo is hoping to build on the "best race" of his fledgling MotoGP career so far as he targets a maiden win at the Aragon Grand Prix.

The Petronas Yamaha rookie appeared on course for victory in San Marino last time out, only to be overtaken by Marc Marquez in a thrilling finish to the race.

Forced to settle for second place on that occasion, Quartararo hopes to again be fighting at the front of the field this Sunday – and expects his bike to "go well" around the MotorLand track, considering recent results.

"For sure Misano has been the best race so far during my career and coming into this race it's a track that we saw the Yamaha in the past, like Maverick [Vinales] in 2017 on pole position, also Valentino [Rossi] was on the front row, so looks the bike is going well," said the 20-year-old Frenchman.

"It's a track that I like so, like always, we will give 100 per cent. Yes, I hope to fight in a good position."

Quartararo also claimed second place at the Catalan Grand Prix earlier in the season, ending up behind Honda rider Marquez having started the race on pole position, while he has finished third on two other occasions in 2019.

He has picked up 112 points in his debut MotoGP campaign despite admitting he is still learning on the job.

"From the beginning of the year the goal was to be rookie of the year, even when in the Sepang test [Francesco] Bagnaia was a second, more than a second, faster than us," Quartararo said, according to MotoGP's official website.

"I never expected to make already pole position, front rows and four podiums, so now I want to keep going on podiums but we need to stay calm because we are rookies and every time we going to a track that is new for us. So I keep working and learning every time."

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Valentino Rossi: Yamaha finally answering MotoGP upgrade requests

Valentino Rossi says Yamaha is now delivering updates to improve its MotoGP bike that he has been requesting for "two and a half years".

Rossi started the year with two podiums, but has failed to return to the rostrum since then while works team-mate Maverick Vinales won at Assen and Petronas SRT's Fabio Quartararo has scored three podiums in that time.

He previously noted that Yamaha had been working harder over the summer break, and a brace of top fours as well as a first front row start since Austin in April in last weekend's British Grand Prix have vindicated this assessment.

"Yamaha is starting to work on smart things; on acceleration, on electronics to manage the rear tyre better," Rossi said.

"All the things I've been asking [to have] for two and a half years, but I've never had an answer before the last few months.

"Maybe we can improve and be competitive both at the end of this year and next year."

The Yamaha is still lacking in horsepower relative to its rivals, and Rossi has called for it to at least "halve" its deficit to the likes of Ducati.

"We have improved, but we are still a long way off," he added.

"We are [usually] seven to eight seconds [behind the top finishers] in races; the other bikes do 12km/h [7.5mph] more on the straight.

"We will not be strong like Ducati on the straight, but we must work to at least halve the gap."

Over the past season, the majority of factories have move from the conventional aluminium swingarm to carbon fibre designs.

This improves tyre life - a key issue for Yamaha in recent years - but Yamaha has yet to bring its own version to its bike, with Rossi revealing this has been a frequent request of his.

"I ask many times, and I think and I hope the carbon swingarm can help us," he said.

"So I hope Yamaha can bring it as soon as possible.

"We don't have a very clear situation [on when it will be developed], but I hope and I think it won't be long before we see it."

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Post ID: 501205027749292765

Rossi: Yamaha working harder since MotoGP summer break

Valentino Rossi feels that "something moved" within the Yamaha MotoGP team during the summer break in its bid to close the gap to its rival manufacturers.

Rossi had a torrid end to the first half of the 2019 campaign, as he retired from three races in succession and then finished only eighth at the Sachsenring.

But the Italian returned from the summer break with slightly improved form by finishing sixth and fourth at Brno and the Red Bull Ring respectively.

Rossi said in Austria that Yamaha has changed for the better during the summer break and was able to "make a step" in its key problem area of acceleration.

"We are quite happy, especially because it looks like the second half of the season started in a better way because the first hlaf we had [was] very negative," said Rossi, who is back to being the top Yamaha in the standings after beating Maverick Vinales to fourth at the Red Bull Ring.

"Looks like something moved in Yamaha, and Yamaha started to work harder and better to improve the bike.

"When we arrived here, Friday we understand that we made a step with electronics and acceleration and we can be more competitive because we always suffer in this track.

"This is the most important thing. For sure we have a lot of work to do because especially [Andrea] Dovizioso and [Marc] Marquez are faster than us, but it's a good way to start."

Takahiro Sumi, who replaced Kouji Tsuya last year as Yamaha's MotoGP group leader, said that the "turning point" was last season's Austrian GP, when the team publicly apologised to its riders after a disastrous qualifying.

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Post ID: 9091636323457285697

New 2020 Yamaha ‘not a lot different’ to current bike, but Valentino Rossi anticipates more improvements

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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Post ID: 5686842640177591467

Yamaha expects no "conflict" over Rossi retirement timing

Yamaha MotoGP boss team boss Lin Jarvis says he expects no "conflict" with Valentino Rossi over the timing of the Italian legend's eventual retirement.
Rossi is under contract at Yamaha until the end of 2020, but has gone more than two years without winning a race and has suffered a poor run of recent form.

The 40-year-old has scored only eight points in the last four races after recording three consecutive DNFs, causing him to drop to sixth in the championship behind factory teammate Maverick Vinales.

Satellite Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo has also overshadowed Rossi since the start of the European season with a pair of pole positions and podium finishes.

In an exclusive interview, Jarvis admitted Rossi is "no longer the future" for Yamaha but didn't rule out the seven-time premier class champion extending his current contract.

He said: "Up until 2010, Valentino had brought us four titles - '04, '05, '08 and '09 - so when he left us [to move to Ducati], it had a big impact. It would be like [Marc] Marquez leaving Honda right now.

"Now he is at a different stage of his life, a different stage of his career, and with all due respect he is no longer the future of our participation in MotoGP.

"He could still be here for another year, two years or three years - we will have to see how long he stays competitive. But it is a different relationship now, a different sort of dependence on him.

"That's not to say he is not important - he is important. His role and function will be different but I hope he stays as a brand ambassador and partner as he gets older."

Jarvis suggested Yamaha would have a role to play in determining when Rossi finally decides to hang up his leathers, even though he expects the Italian to show "the first signs" that the end of his career is approaching.

Asked whether he felt the decision to retire would be Rossi's alone or a collective one, Jarvis replied: "It will definitely be both parties' decision.

"I think he will certainly be the first person to decide when he feels he is unable to be as competitive as he would like to be, or his motivation starts to wane. The first signs will definitely come from his side.

"But for me, I absolutely don't expect any conflict. I think we will arrive at the same thought at the same moment."

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Post ID: 8289596428051734676

Rossi: Difficult to understand ongoing "suffering" MotoGP form

Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi says it is difficult to understand why he continued to "suffer" in MotoGP's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.

Rossi arrived at the Sachsenring on the back of three successive non-scores and has recently struggled to match his three fellow Yamaha riders.

The seven-time MotoGP champion was encouraged by his pre-crash showing at Assen and showed moments strong pace during the German GP weekend.

But Rossi was a muted eighth place at the Sachsenring and finished some 19 seconds down on race winner Marc Marquez.

"Today I finished but, anyway, it was a very difficult race because I was never strong enough," Rossi said.

"For us, this weekend was important because last week in Assen, in the race, before the mistake I felt good with the bike.

"I was fast, so we had to confirm if we found a good way here in Sachsenring.

"Unfortunately, during practice sometimes I had quite a good pace, but anyway I was not fast enough. So we suffer, we continue to suffer - and we need to understand why."

Rossi said choosing the medium rear Michelin tyre - as opposed to the hard compound that team-mate Maverick Vinales used to finish in second place - did not work out.

But Rossi says it was not the overriding factor for his muted performance.

"We start with the medium [tyre] that we knew was a little bit slower, but we expected [it to be] more constant, especially because from the Michelin side [and] from our calculation, it looks like the hard does not arrive [and perform] at the end.

"So we tried the medium but unfortunately the medium didn't have grip from the beginning and, anyway, at the end I was in a lot of trouble.

"But apart from the tyre, I think that we have some other problems because I am not able to be strong, to ride the bike well as I did last year."

Rossi says he and his Yamaha team must figure out his recent run of form, as last year's run of fives races between Le Mans and Sachsenring was his best spell of form in 2018.

The Yamaha rider entered the weekend following comments from MotoGP legend Giacomo Agostini about whether he could match leading riders.

"Last year these five races [Le Mans to Sachsenring] was the better part of my season, I was always very competitive and I did some podiums, but always good races," said Rossi.

"But this year, especially in the last four races, we suffered very, very much.

"So we need to analyse the data, we need to understand why because I don't feel good with the bike and I am a lot slower than last year because today I am 20 seconds slower than my race of 2018.

"This is very difficult to understand, we need to find a way [and a solution]. "

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Post ID: 6804825770737158846

MotoGP Catalunya: Rossi pragmatic after Lorenzo nerfing

Monster Energy factory Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi was pragmatic after being taken out of the Catalan Grand Prix on the second lap as part of a four rider pile up caused by Jorge Lorenzo at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Yamaha man was enjoyed a good weekend and was a dark horse to end his victory drought which has now spanned nearly two years. However, the Italian got caught up with Lorenzo’s crash at on just the second lap, which also collected Andrea Dovizioso and factory Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales.

Rossi explained that he felt good before the incident, confident in what he could have achieved had he not been caught up in the crash.

“It’s a great, great, great shame because today I felt very good,” said the Italian.

“We worked well during practice and we learn something important and I feel comfortable with the bike. This morning with the medium I have a good pace.

“I was consistent, I felt good in braking and I enjoyed riding the M1. So I was very optimistic for the race. I think we had the right tyre choice so I think I could’ve fought for the podium.”
Whilst his Yamaha team-mate called for Lorenzo to be severely punished, Rossi was more pragmatic, saying it can happen to anyone.

“I was behind Petrucci and I was a bit faster than him,” he said. “I wanted to try to overtake but I overtake in the wrong moment because I arrive faster to turn ten.

“After I see the crash in front of me, and unfortunately I cannot avoid the bike of Jorge. I tried not to crash but the bike came below my tyres and at the end I also crash.

“I have also a bit of pain in my ankle because my foot remained between the two bikes. About the penalty, the race direction will decide. I don’t have to say nothing.”

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Post ID: 8579108000672272186