Valentino Rossi ousted from the Malaysian podium by the power of Ducati. Former John Hopkins driver: "Frustrating to fight against a bike like this".
Only two podiums in the MotoGP 2019 season for Valentino Rossi. The third missed for three and a half tenths at Sepang, thanks to a Yamaha that lacks top speed. In Malaysia the Doctor deserved the podium, despite the excellent performance of Andrea Dovizioso. But the Forlì claimed all the power of the V4 Ducati on the straights. And when an M1 finds itself forced to chase it can't do it with power, but mainly by taking advantage of the curve.
John Hopkins, a former MotoGP driver, knows something about it and suffered similar problems with Suzuki at the time. "It's frustrating", He tells MotoGP.com. "I'm very sorry for Valentino Rossi, because I thought he could really win the podium this time. But unfortunately things went differently and it is so frustrating to have to fight against a bike like Ducati". The performances of Quartararo and Vinales, especially on the dry lap, have shown that the YZR-M1 can do so much even on the race pace. Valentino Rossi has suffered more than others from wearing the rear tire. Fault of a different driving style compared to the younger Yamaha drivers. But also a not always perfect set-up that highlighted some flaws inside the box. Hence the decision to replace Silvano Galbuera with David Munoz from next year.
THE DOCTOR 9 YEARS AFTER THE TEST IN DUCATI
The Tavullia pilot asks for an additional effort from Iwata's engineers, especially in terms of engine. Power is not everything, a MotoGP requires a perfect balance between the various sectors. For this reason, the Japanese company has decided to further strengthen the electronics department with the arrival of Marco Frigerio. An engineer from Ducati, a team that has invested so much and well on the Magneti Marelli control unit. In addition, other figures from Japan will try to guarantee the necessary step to get back in line with their opponents. "It lacks power only – continued John Hopkins -, so you can't risk everything as a pilot".
The M1 proved to be a winning bike every time it came in the front row. The ability to handle tires when it comes to chasing is missing. Valentino Rossi suffered every time he failed to win the first two rows in qualifying. Overtaking becomes difficult, not only due to the lack of top speed, but due to the stress of the tires that wear out after a few laps. "He is trying to adapt his driving style just to get through", Concluded the former American pilot. "It would have been really nice to see him on the podium, because he drove really well". Ironically, nine years ago, on November 9th 2010, the Doctor carried out his first test on the Ducati. One of the most difficult periods of his long and prestigious career began.