Rossi doesn't picture himself featuring in 2017 MotoGP title fight

Valentino Rossi says he does not see himself featuring in this year's MotoGP title fight given Yamaha's recent struggles to be competitive

Rossi doesn't picture himself featuring in 2017 MotoGP title fight

The Italian is 33 points adrift of leader Marc Marquez after a disappointing run to seventh in Austria, where he finished behind team-mate Maverick Vinales and Tech3's Johann Zarco.

Rossi has failed to finish on the podium since winning at Assen in June, while Vinales has just one podium finish in mixed conditions in Brno from his previous five starts.

While expressing some optimism that Yamaha would be more competitive at Silverstone this weekend than it had been in recent rounds, Rossi admitted he is no longer thinking about closing the deficit to Marquez in the standings.

"I don't see myself in the fight for the championship because there are many points [to catch up] and we are not competitive enough," said Rossi.

"Before thinking about reducing the deficit to [Andrea] Dovizioso and Marquez, I would like to be as competitive as them and fight for the podium. For now, that will be my goal.

"It will depend on each circuit, but we are in a difficult moment technically. Regarding the championship, I think it will be really hard."

2018 bike test

Rossi and Vinales tallied more than 180 laps between them last weekend in a private test at Misano, the main aim of which was to solve the rear tyre life problems that hurt their performances in Austria.

But Rossi revealed he and Vinales had also had their first taste of next year's Yamaha bike at the Italian track.

"We tried the first 2018 prototype, it was not so bad," said Rossi. "We tried something for the traction control, some small details, but we don't have a lot of new stuff.

"We work mainly for this, for the setting, and the laptime was not so bad. It looks also like with the used tyres we can keep a good pace.

"So it was good, for sure if you are able to test like this before the GP, the story of the weekend change, because you start from 70% and you can work on the details.

"It's a big advantage, so we try to use this test to be strong."

Asked if the 2018 bike could be used this year, Rossi said: "I think it will [only] be for 2018.

"But me and Maverick we speak a lot with the engineers, and for sure we will work strong to be competitive in these races."

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