Valentino Rossi says the seamless gearbox Yamaha introduced for this weekend's MotoGP race at Misano is a 'fantastic' development.
The technology was seen by both Rossi and teammate Jorge Lorenzo as a key upgrade in order for Yamaha to close its current gap to the works Hondas.
After Yamaha confirmed it would introduce the new gearbox in Italy, Rossi enjoyed one of the strongest Fridays of his 2013 campaign and was a consistent fixture in the top four, eventually winding up fourth and third in the respective two practice sessions.
Rossi said the new gearbox makes the bike far more stable to ride, predicting that it will have a pronounced effect over a race distance even if it does not necessarily translate into lap time.
"Yamaha has made a fantastic job with the gearbox; it is a great help for the riders," Rossi said. "It's not a big advantage with lap time but the bike becomes a lot easier to ride, more stable in acceleration and less wheelie. You can concentrate more on riding, it is less demanding so I think for the race it will be a big help."
Rossi, who took his final podium with Ducati at Misano last year, said he had also been buoyed by his own pace, adding: "Today was a good Friday for me, my performance was not so bad.
"This morning I was already quite fast but especially this afternoon my pace was very good. I was fast from the beginning to the end of the practice and we are very close to the front."
Tea-mate Lorenzo echoed Rossi's praise of the new gearbox, although he said the team had taken a backward step on setup compared to last year.
"The new gearbox is working well and I really like it, [but] we are having some problems to find the best set up on the bike," he said. "I felt a little bit worse than the last years here but we are trying to improve it – I'm confident we can go a little faster tomorrow."