Valentino Rossi has thanked Michelin for his improved qualifying performances in 2016, as he will again start from the front row in Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas.
Rossi was 0.456s off Marc Marquez’s pole position time at COTA, and believes the switch from Bridgestone to Michelin tyres has helped his raw pace in a time attack.
“If I wanna try and fight with them, I have to more consistent in the qualifying,” said Rossi. “It looks like this year we improved the bike [for qualifying] but especially the tyres.
“I feel better with the Michelin when I have to do the [qualifying] lap, and I feel more comfortable and I feel I can give a little bit more.
“This is very important.”
Rejected move to 2016 design for now
Rossi’s second bike this weekend features a modified fuel tank, which changes the weight distribution more towards the back end – as originally intended with the 2016 M1 design.
“Yamaha continues to work on the weight distribution to try to improve the feeling, to go faster,” he explained.
“I tried the different bike, which is very similar to the 2016 yesterday, but first I don’t like it, secondly, we don’t have enough time in the race weekend. There was already not enough time for setting one bike, so if you have another one it’s impossible.
“But I think we continue to work, follow that way in the test – maybe at Jerez on Monday [after the race weekend]. We try to find something better.”