Valentino Rossi believes Yamaha is in much better shape at Donington Park than last year following an encouraging practice performance. The championship leader still had issues with some sections of the circuit, but said the bike felt more competitive through the Craner Curves and the Melbourne loop than it had in 2008, when Casey Stoner and Ducati were dominant in Britain.
"Although today the practice was okay in the wet and we had good performance, I struggled a lot at the Old Hairpin, so we have to make some modifications," said Rossi. "But I'm fast in the first part of the track where last year I was not very strong, and in the last part, where last year Stoner with the Ducati was a lot faster than us.
"So that's a sign that the Yamaha has improved a lot on acceleration. We have less of a problem with wheelies and we've made a good step."
Rossi was third fastest behind Dani Pedrosa and Stoner in today's rain-affected session, while his teammate Jorge Lorenzo felt he had made a personal breakthrough in the wet as he took fifth.
"I'm really happy about this practice today because I felt comfortable on the bike and was able to brake quite late in the wet," said the Spaniard. "I was pleased that we had a chance in the drier conditions later, because it showed what we need to work on for tomorrow.
"I had made a lot of laps in the rain so my tyre was quite worn by that time, when it was more dry, but anyway the times weren't important for me today and I'm just happy about my performance in the wet. We learned a lot and now we will use this to improve tomorrow."