Rossi: Vinales MotoGP win ‘doesn’t change’ Yamaha’s need to improve

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Valentino Rossi says his MotoGP team-mate Maverick Vinales’ victory in Sunday’s Phillip Island race “doesn’t change much” for Yamaha.

Vinales ended Yamaha’s 25-race wait for a win on Sunday with a commanding performance at Phillip Island on a track that was expected to be more favourable to the M1 bike.

But Rossi – who finished sixth – said the result does not reduce the need for Yamaha to make a major leap in performance next season, having lagged behind Honda and Ducati for much of this season.

“This is a good result for Maverick, and also for the whole team and for Yamaha, because it was so long that we did not win,” said Rossi.

“But we have to keep working for next year.

“It’s certainly a big injection of confidence, but I do not think it changes much.”

Rossi moved into second shortly after Vinales had taken the lead, but could not sustain his pace in the latter half of the race and ended up behind both works Suzukis as well as the two factory Ducatis.

With Andrea Dovizioso finishing third, it means Rossi has fallen 15 points behind his countryman in the fight to be runner-up in the standings behind Marc Marquez, who has already sealed this year’s title.

“It was a disappointing result, I had hoped to fight for the podium,” reflected Rossi.

“From the first lap I didn’t have a lot of grip, especially on the left side [of the tyre], and I was in more trouble than [on Saturday].

“Immediately I felt I was sliding a lot, as if I’d lost a bit of grip. Until half-distance I was quite fast and I was second, but then I had to slow down. Now we must try to understand why.

“A quite negative result, because I lost points in the championship to Dovizioso and also Maverick, who has recovered a lot of points.

“I think more than for second, the battle will be for the third [in the points].”

Although he struggled for grip, Rossi admitted there were no major differences between his bike and Vinales’ at Phillip Island, and praised the Spaniard for his performance.

“In general the two bikes are not very different,” he said.

“We have some differences because our styles are a bit different, but the problem is that in acceleration we spin a bit too much.

“Maverick is able to have more drive; even if he spins he accelerates [better]. Especially this weekend he always rides very well and he’s able to have less problems.”

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