‘Very close to the top’: Rossi boosted by Sepang speed

Valentino Rossi exists the pits at the Sepang MotoGP test 2020

MotoGP™ legend Valentino Rossi was pleased after he impressed on the final day of testing in Sepang on Sunday.

Rossi will be replaced by youngster Fabio Quartararo at Monster Energy Yamaha in 2021 and the Frenchman topped the timesheets in all three days of testing.

But Rossi - who turns 41 in February - showed he still has plenty to give this year by finishing fifth quickest on Sunday.

“We are happy with these three days,” the seven-time MotoGP™ world champion said afterwards.

“Today was a good day because I did a very good lap time in the time attack. It’s the first time for me to be in the 1:58’s, so this is positive, also because we are in P5 and very close to the top.

“We worked a lot, also on the pace, and we tried different things. Some were good, others weren’t.

“We have to work hard because everybody is so fast - but the test was positive.”

Rossi was the second-fastest Yamaha rider on Sunday, with his quickest lap time of 1:58.541s just 0.192s slower than Quartararo’s best effort. 

Rossi’s Yamaha teammate, Maverick Vinales, finished third in the 2019 rider standings.

He said he was encouraged by the way his bike had improved over the weekend.

“I’m feeling very positive, because today we improved the bike quite a lot, especially the race set-up,” Vinales said.

“We were really concentrated on working on the feeling and it seems to be good. On race tyres with a race set-up, we had a good pace. I felt quite competitive.”

Vinales was not in the top 10 on day three of testing but was sixth fastest on day two - 0.321s behind Quartararo.

The 2020 MotoGP™ season begins in Qatar in March.

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