PHILLIP ISLAND, VICTORIA - FEBRUARY 16: Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and Ducati Team leads Valentino Rossi of Italy and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP during 2017 MotoGP pre-season testing at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on February 16, 2017 in Phillip Island, Australia. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

Difficult day for Valentino Rossi as progress goes backwards

Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi got his head down today to take the development of his YZR-M1 another step further. He spent the morning test session at the Phillip Island Circuit Down Under getting a feel for the track and soon worked his way up to fifth place before he moved on to trying new Michelin tyres.

The Doctor completed a total of 43 laps before lunch, but it wasn‘t all work and no play because after his morning stints, the Italian celebrated his 38th birthday with his crew and a birthday cake.

Back on track for the afternoon session, Rossi completed another 27 laps as he crossed various items off his testing schedule.

Whilst trying new bike modifications he was unable to improve on his time from this morning after they took the set up in the wrong direction.

His best lap, a 1‘29.674s, earned him eighth place in the timesheets, 0.827s behind his teammate and the focus now is to try and improve for the final day of this three day test.

“It was a difficult day for us, especially in the afternoon,” the birthday boy explained. “This morning was not so bad. We tried some different tyres but we especially focused on the pace and it was quite good. This afternoon we had some important tests to do, try a long run and modify something on the bike, but unfortunately it didn‘t work well and I wasn‘t fast enough.”

“It looks like we followed the wrong direction, so after the interviews we‘ll go back to the box to try to understand better for tomorrow and we hope that we can improve. Being in Phillip Island with the good weather and riding the M1 all day is always difficult, because it‘s hard work, but it‘s also a great pleasure, so I think this is a good birthday gift.”

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