MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi comments that "a very tough fight" lies ahead in the 2017 season as the top six riders finished the official test at Sepang within 0.26s of the pacesetter Maverick Vinales' time.
On Wednesday, Rossi found something positive and posted the fifth fastest time which put him in sixth on the aggregate timesheet. He put in a 1m59.5s lap on the final day, even though his physical condition was not good.
Across the three days of intense tests at the scorching Malaysian race track, the Italian legend had a taste of several new components on his Yamaha M1 including new chassis and new fairing with concealed winglets. After the test, Rossi gave positive comments about the new parts.
The 37-year-old Italian was suffering from a very bad headache on Monday. After ending the test on a positive note, Rossi said, "At the end, the test is positive, because my lap time was good."
"My final lap of 1m 59.5s is not so bad. We are all very close. But especially we find a lot of good things for the bike. Especially this afternoon, we worked more on the new chassis, and I feel good. At the end, we found something interesting to improve.
"It was a difficult test because it was very long but we found something positive. All the new stuff - not all, but the major part - is good.
"The problem is that the first riders are all very close and all very fast. Together on the time attack but also on the pace. So I think that it will be a very tough fight."
When asked about the new components such as chassis and fairing, Rossi replied, in brief, because he is warned by Yamaha to not to give more details.
Rossi said, "Sincerely speaking, the fairing was not a big difference, but I like. And is also very beautiful. I tried also the new tyres, something a little bit better, something a little bit worse, but not a big difference."