Valentino Rossi involved following MotoGP opener after discovering Yamaha ‘drawback’

VALENTINO ROSSI fears that Yamaha have ‘more or less the same problems as last season’ after the first race of the new campaign.

Rossi failed to win a single Grand Prix last season, finishing third overall in the drivers’ championship behind Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso.

After a terrible qualifying session which ended after Q1, Rossi began from 14th place on the grid in the Qatar desert.

But the Doctor delivered in his trademark spectacular style during the 22 laps of the Losail Circuit.

Rossi overtook nine of his rivals to finish in a respectable fifth place, earning himself 11 world championship points.

But the MotoGP legend conceded that issues with rear tire grip hampered him yesterday as it did a year ago when he placed third.

“We worked by modifying the setting of the bike and also for the race we made some other adjustments which worked and I am happy because it was a good race,” Rossi said.

“I feel good with the bike today and I enjoyed it coming from the back so it is not so bad.

“The problem is that we are more or less like last year.

“I arrived in fifth place which is good, especially being 0.6s from the victory.

“But in this track we are always good so we have to keep working because in some other places we could have some more problems.

“We will take this result. The podium, I tried for it, but I was not strong enough.

“The problems are more or less the same.

“In some areas we improved but unfortunately we are always struggling with the rear grip and it is difficult.”

“The problem is that also last year in Qatar we were good,” he said. “For some reason the tyre slides here but resists.

“At other tracks usually when the tyre slides the performance drops more. So for me we are more or less on the same boat.”

The next Grand Prix takes place in Argentina on March 31.

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