News 11 Nov 2010

MotoGP: "We need to improve for Valentino Rossi," - Ducati

Rossi has had a disappointing start to his Ducati career, but don't rule him out just yet. Image: MCN.

Rossi has had a disappointing start to his Ducati career, but don't rule him out just yet. Image: MCN.

Ducati Corse general director Filippo Preziosi has admitted the Italian manufacturer will need to produce a more competitive bike in order to win with Valentino Rossi in 2011.

The Italian nine-time world champion set a lowly 15th fastest lap time at this week’s two-day Valencia post-season test in Spain on debut with Ducati, his 1:33.761 a giant 1.695 seconds off the pace of fastest man Casey Stoner.

“The objective is clearly to allow Valentino to ride like Valentino,” Preziosi commented. “We know we have to improve the bike in order to achieve this, especially the front-end. He has given us some very precise information and now it is down to us to use it.

“We would obviously have liked to give him the opportunity to go faster today but even though that wasn’t the case he has impressed everybody over the last two days with the way he works, his calm approach and his positive attitude towards everything.”

Rossi worked closely together with Preziosi on the setting of the GP11 machine with the big bang engine configuration, completing 70 laps.

The 31-year-old’s detailed feedback and the data gathered over the past two days will help the Ducati engineers develop the GP11, with Preziosi confirming that the big bang is the favoured option at this point.

“After these two days of tests we will go back to Ducati for a meeting, where we will decide which path to take between the two engines, the big bang and the screamer, although the information we have is pointing towards the former,” Preziosi said.

“It will be a decision we will make by analysing the data in depth as well as planning the way forward around all the other things we learnt at the test.”

Due to his existing Yamaha contract, Rossi was forbidden to speak on the record about the Ducati.

Despite Rossi’s disappointing debut, American Nicky Hayden posted a strong sixth quickest time with a 1:32.583 – over a second quicker than Rossi – while Pramac Racing debutants Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi also out-paced Rossi in eighth and 14th respectively.

MotoGP rookie and Valencia Moto2 race winner Karel Abraham was the final Ducati newcomer in 16th, his 1:33.793 just 0.032 off Rossi’s best.