Honda Goldwing prototype M1

Valentino Rossi impressed with 2014 YZR-M1

17 September 2013 09:16

Valentino Rossi made a successful debut on Yamaha’s new 2014 factory YZR-M1 in Misano (yesterday) after clocking the third fastest time during a one-day MotoGP test session.

Rossi’s best lap of 1.33.660 was set on next year’s prototype YZR-M1, which features an all-new engine designed for more power and an upgraded chassis with different weight distribution to help with acceleration grip and front-end feeling.

The Italian finished behind Repsol Honda rival Marc Marquez and Misano winner Jorge Lorenzo and he was pleased with the improvements Yamaha has made ahead of next season.

The 34-year-old said: “I am very happy about the test. We did a lot of interesting things and I like the new bike. It has some difference in the engine to make it a bit faster and some difference in the chassis with the weight distribution and I like it a lot.

At the beginning the feeling was a little bit strange but I make my best lap with the new bike and this is positive. It has better traction in acceleration and a better feeling in the front. The front is more stable and you can push more and in general it gives a better feeling.”

Rossi said there was no way any of the major new components he tested in Misano could be used in the final five races of the current campaign to help him secure fourth place in the world championship standings in a battle with Briton Cal Crutchlow.

Honda Goldwing prototype M1
Honda Goldwing prototype M1

The nine-times world champion added: “That bike is for next year. We started the work for next year but I don’t think I can use this bike for Aragon.”

Another positive for Rossi during the test was improvements made in braking with his current YZR-M1. Ever since he returned to Yamaha after a nightmare two-year spell with Ducati, Rossi has not been able to get the maximum braking performance. But he feels he made a breakthrough yesterday that will make him stronger in the braking zone for the final five races.

He added: “We needed to improve the problem in braking and this is the most positive point of the test because we can use this from next week. We improve quite a lot in the braking by improving the setting to stop the bike which has been the problem that I have had from the beginning of the season. But I think we make a step.”

Spaniard Lorenzo didn’t appear to share Rossi’s enthusiasm for the 2014 YZR-M1, although he had set his personal best lap of 1.33.502 on the new model.

The double MotoGP world champion said: “We tested a new engine spec for next year but we are still not really convinced and we have to check the data to see in which area it is better and which it is worse.”

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