Rossi: Le Mans 'very important' for Yamaha
18 May 2017 – Valentino Rossi says the French Grand Prix will be "very important" for Yamaha and its title prospects, following a difficult weekend at Jerez last time out.
Rossi leads the championship after the first four rounds of the season, having claimed podiums in Qatar, Argentina and the US, until a blip in Spain.
Yamaha struggled for performance all weekend at the Circuito de Jerez, with Maverick Viñales coming home in sixth position, and Rossi taking 10th.
As it stands, Rossi holds a two-point advantage over Viñales, but the Hondas of Marc Márquez (four points back) and Dani Pedrosa (10 points back) have closed in.
Rossi and Viñales offered different opinions over a new chassis trialled by Yamaha at the post-Spanish GP test, and Rossi hopes progress will be made at Le Mans.
"After the difficulties during the Jerez weekend, the Le Mans GP will be very important," said Rossi.
"It is true that we are still first in the championship standings, and this is nice for us, but we need to improve the bike to be really competitive.
"The test in Jerez was important and we understood some positive things.
"Now we will have to work well from the first session in Le Mans and we have to try to be immediately competitive.
"We are feeling positive and we want to get back to working on the bike right away.
"I also hope that the weather conditions will be good, we need to test the bike in dry conditions."
Viñales was more optimistic about the new parts Yamaha tested following the Jerez race and heads to Le Mans confident of returning to the sharp-end.
"The race in Jerez was very difficult for us; now we have to understand about what happened and try to improve this weekend at the Le Mans circuit," said Viñales.
"Luckily during the test in Jerez we had a totally different result – it was a really good test.
"For that reason, we're arriving in France with a positive mind.
"Le Mans is a good track for us, it suits my riding style, and we can do a really good job there."