Austria's Red Bull Ring Yamaha's worst MotoGP track of year - Rossi
|By Oriol Puigdemont and Jamie Klein||Friday, August 10th 2018, 17:15 GMT|
Valentino Rossi says this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix will be the hardest of the MotoGP season for Yamaha, owing to the circuit's layout.
Rossi was only 11th fastest in Friday's first practice session at the Red Bull Ring, a second off the pace set by Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, after having to change bikes early on due to a broken sprocket.
A rain-affected second session left Rossi in the same position overall at the end of Friday, meaning he faces having to go through Q1 if Saturday morning's third practice session is also affected by inclement weather.
The Italian said the combination of slow corners and long straights at the Austrian track means Yamaha - which has gone 22 races without a win in MotoGP - is in for another difficult weekend.
"For me, it's the worst configuration when you have to start from the slow hairpins, first or second gear, and after you have a long straight," Rossi said. "It's where we suffer more.
"The layout of this track is the worst one for us.
"Our bike has a better corner speed, so on a track like Brno or Mugello, you can push from this point of view. But in Austria it's more difficult because we don't have many of this [type of] corner.
"We have to work in all areas - also on braking. [It] looks like the gap to the top is bigger, and we are suffering."
Rossi added Yamaha's habitual acceleration problems were even more pronounced in the wet, after he finished 2.3 seconds off the pace in FP2.
"Our problem in acceleration with the electronics system in the wet becomes bigger," he said, "because the amount of [available] grip is a lot less.
"The gap between us and the top guys becomes very big."
Rossi's factory team-mate Maverick Vinales, who was 10th in FP1, offered a similar assessment of Yamaha's situation in Austria.
"The acceleration still remains a big problem, and on this track we have to suffer," said Vinales. "We don't have any chance.
"The bike is not working, but it's not in our hands right now."
Rossi is currently second in the standings, 48 points behind Marc Marquez, but is resigned to losing ground to the Ducatis of Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo in Austria.
"Except Argentina [when Rossi was taken out by Marc Marquez], in all the other races I've finished in the top five," said Rossi.
"Even if I haven't won, I've managed to get on the podium may times and I've not thrown away points.
"I'm ahead of the Ducatis, also because they have made some errors, but it will be very difficult to keep second place in the championship - especially from Dovizioso but also from Lorenzo.
"It will be very important to score points on Sunday even if they are ahead."