Rossi: Yamaha needs to make 2008-like leap forward
Valentino Rossi has called on Yamaha to make a leap forward similar to the one it managed in 2008 amid its current MotoGP difficulties.
Yamaha is in the midst of a 15-race losing streak, its last victory coming at Assen last year, as its struggles to make the M1 bike competitive in low-grip conditions continue.
Rossi lies fourth in the points after the opening five races of 2018, two points behind Johann Zarco aboard the Tech 3 Yamaha, with third-place finishes in Qatar and at Le Mans.
In an interview ahead of this weekend’s Mugello race with Sky Italia, Rossi reflected on his difficult 2007 season and the progress Yamaha made the following year - when he won the sixth of his seven premier-class titles.
He said a similar effort to the one made under the leadership of then-Yamaha technical boss Masao Furusawa is now required to put the Iwata marque back on terms with rivals Honda and Ducati.
“For me, the 2008 championship was one of the most important of my career, also for its significance,” said Rossi.
“In 2007, at Valencia [the final round] I crashed and I broke my hand in practice, then I tried to race but I had to stop.
“After the race there was a meeting with Masao Furusawa, who at the time was my trusted man at Yamaha, and I told him that I wanted to continue with them, but I asked him to make a big effort to make the bike more competitive.
“He did it: he changed things inside Yamaha, he also risked his job, he made a mess and the 2008 bike arrived with an incredible step forward.”
Rossi reiterated his previous pleas for Yamaha to pour more resources into improving its electronics.
“The 2018 bike is a very similar version to the good ones of 2015, 2016," he continued. "When you ride it you get a safe feeling.
“But this year we speak more about electronics, where we haven’t done the step that the others have done.
“I would like to be competitive between now and the end of the year, but Yamaha must make a big step, like the one Furusawa did between 2007 and 2008.
“With only small changes, we can resolve the problem in five years…”
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