The nine-time grand prix motorcycle world champion made his SRT debut in last weekend’s test, but ended it 1.6 seconds off the pace in 19th having been unimpressed by Yamaha’s 2021 chassis.
Rossi made a gain of almost a second in lap time in Wednesday’s running in Qatar and felt the 2021 chassis to be better at turning than its predecessor.
He also tested a new aerodynamic fairing, which he feels has improved Yamaha’s straightline speed – even if he’s still some 10km/h down on the fastest Ducati.
“Today is a lot better day for me,” he said on Wednesday. “In the end I am P13, so it’s nothing great for sure, but I improve my lap time a lot by [almost] one second.
“I improved my pace, I improved the feeling with the bike and we work a lot with all the team. I’m happy about the work because my pace is not at the level of the top [riders], but I am close.
“Today I felt like a real rider, I ride quite well, we tried new stuff, we continued to test the new chassis and it was positive.
“At the end of the day, it was not bad even if I miss something but it’s just the first day, so it’s a good start.
“The new chassis is better; we have better turning. Unfortunately, with the 2020 chassis, we lose some turning. This one from this point of view is better.
“It’s not the same feeling of 2019, but anyway it’s closer and also has some other good points.
“During the day I also tried something on the aerodynamics, like the new cowling and is beautiful.
“We improved a lot the top speed, and this is positive because even if the Ducati are still 10km/h faster we improved a lot.”
Rossi explained his negative feeling with the 2021 chassis last weekend was down to a lack of grip from the tyres.
“For me, the second day in the test I had a lot of problems with the tyres because I don’t have good grip,” he added.
“I suffered very much. Today looks like the tyres were better, and the chassis is good and makes me improve the pace and I improved also my riding style, because I had some corners where I was not strong enough, especially in entry.
“So, it’s altogether, better for the motivation because to find the right motivation in a long test is not easy.
“And also, physically, I feel better after the first test.”