Rossi’s Yamaha return seems fruitful

In a year in which rain has been a constant feature of Grand Prix weekends, it was almost fitting that the opening day of MotoGP testing for 2013 should be such a washout.

Tired after three days of riding plus a party, there weren't many riders cursing their luck for not being able to put in 60+ laps, and the attitude of resignation was the most prevalent.

The track opens at 10am, it's invariably too cold to get any meaningful data, and there is more of a chance of seeing November rain than at a Guns n' Roses concert in 1992.

"Weather is s**t, imagine that" said Colin Edwards, who has seen this situation a few times before. The teams had seen it coming, too, as Yamaha made a decision on Sunday to take their testing to Aragón on Wednesday, perhaps in vain as a wet front moves across Spain.

Predictable it might have been, but we were looking for tangible answers that never arrived. We wanted to see if Valentino Rossi's times on the Yamaha M1 were faster than his Grand Prix pace on the Ducati, how they compared to Jorge Lorenzo's on the same machinery, whether Andrea Dovizioso would be giving a double-take to his telemetry after a long stint with the Desmosedici and if Marc Márquez would be fast enough to chop past anyone within an hour of his MotoGP debut.

The most we found out, in reality, was that Lorenzo likes a nice Golden Delicious apple and that Márquez takes two bananas into the garage.

Whilst their mothers must be delighted to know that their boys are getting their vitamins, unless this is a sign that there is going to be a minimum weight limit then it's hard to extrapolate much from their choices.

But Rossi did at least go out for a few laps on his return to Yamaha -there would have been a furore if he hadn't. Not that anyone can tell 'The Doctor' what to do without a contract, but Dorna had paid for cameramen and a live feed primarily to cover his activities on Tuesday, and were charging for the privilege.

Besides, after two years on a Ducati, there was no way he wasn't at least going to put in a few parade laps with the M1. Normally one of the last out on track and favouring a lie-in over some extra morning stints, he even made an uncharacteristically early start for this one.

From first impressions, Rossi looks far more comfortable on the Yamaha than he did with the Ducati, although the conditions required him to make a save on his out lap. Looking comfortable and going fast are not always interchangeable terms, however, so it seems unlikely that there will be any real information to get our teeth into until the Sepang test, where rain dries out more quickly and times from Rossi and Lorenzo can be compared more fairly.

Banned from speaking to the media until the new year in a common clause often waived by factories, few journalists will have followed the Italian to Aragón.  Tuesday was the big show, the day when the crowds would descend on the garage to snap their hero starting a new stage in his career.

Afterwards, it was a case of checking facial expressions, and the smile on Rossi's face suggests that the conversation in the car on the way to the Spanish desert will be positive. It was a necessary evil, and now the hard work starts; he may well feel more at ease with the machine, but beating a World Champion team-mate is never a case of simply showing up.

Lorenzo watched on, once again the secondary focus of attention in the Yamaha garage. There is no wall this time around, and not even an apple a day seems to be able to keep The Doctor away.