Despite fielding a new M1 for the 2017 season, MotoGP Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi has admitted that the team will base their 2018 challenger on the 2016 M1.
Newer isn’t always better. That’s what MotoGP team Movistar Yamaha had to learn the hard way during the 2017 season. With their darling M1 not living up to expectations, it seems that the team has officially decided to base their 2018 challenger on their 2016 version of the bike.
Despite doing all they could to extract the maximum out of their 2017 bike, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales – along with the remainder of their team – had to witness themselves falling by the wayside in a title fight that saw Honda and Ducati go head-to-head for the dramatic finish.
Now, after the dust has settled, the Italian Veteran has spoken up about the performance of the 2017, why the team put so much time into it, and their ultimate decision to step away from it. Rossi spoke about the feelings the team shared regarding the ‘16/’17 bikes at their private test at Sepang:
“We tried the old bike, the one from 2016. We deliberated, and we were all agreed the 2017 bike was worse.
We still have to see what the new bike will be like, there will be something interesting. But the base will be the bike from 2016.” – Valentino Rossi
Rossi went on to elucidate the cause for the team’s investment of resources in the 2017 bike, and it was none other than Maverick Vinales:
“The problem was that when Vinales arrived, he went very fast.
I tried it and I didn’t like it, but I thought, maybe because it was the end of the season, I was out of shape.
So, we continued with that project [the 2017 bike], but this was a mistake because we lost a lot of time.” – Valentino Rossi
For the unaware, the 2016 bike is the same one fielded by the likes of Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco, the rookie that took the fight to the many A-listers in his very first season of MotoGP.
It’s good to see Yamaha admitting that their redesign did not yield the results desired – and big things could be in store for the Boys in Blue should they manage to extract the full potential of their 2016 challenger.
That is, of course, if Ducati and Honda don’t make monumental gains during the offseason. While Yamaha had some incredible showings of force during the first half of the season, they fell behind too far from Ducati and Honda – ultimately unable to match the developments of their rivals.
With a stronger and proven core upon which to build their new machine, Rossi may see his wishes come true as battles for wins once more in what could be his final year at Movistar Yamaha.