Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi isn’t yet concerned of his lack of pace since replacing Aussie Casey Stoner at Ducati in MotoGP, the Italian continuing to test despite recovering from shoulder surgery.
Rossi was a frustrating 13th fastest while his rivals all stormed to the top of the time sheets, but he says he’s simply happy to be on the bike at the first test of the year at Sepang, Malaysia.
“I’m happy because I was able to ride again today – I did another 42 laps, which is reassuring,” The Doctor commented.
“Even when I work my shoulder hard, I’m finding that it doesn’t get worse, and I don’t suffer too much, to the extent that I was able to start again this morning without having lost anything compared to yesterday.
“Actually, the shoulder is even getting better as I ride, and I’m able to make the movements that are required. Obviously, it’s still a handicap, because eventually I begin to lose strength and the pain increases, but we were able to do some good, consistent work.”
Despite his niggling shoulder injury, Rossi remains focussed on developing the Desmosedici GP11 in preparation for this season, and he’s also adamant that he’s satisfied with the team’s progress to date.
“We tested some new fairings, trying out the aerodynamics,” he explained. “There’s still a little vibration at the front that we weren’t able to eliminate, but we have some cards we can play tomorrow to address that.
“We have to get a little more experience to better understand the bike’s reactions when we change tires, from soft to hard and vice versa. If the weather stays nice, the track conditions will continue to improve, and I think lap times could drop a bit.
“Naturally, beyond feeling increasingly comfortable on the bike, one of our goals is to be able to ride it more easily.
“We’re satisfied with the progress we’re making.”
Rossi’s fastest lap was a 2:02.597, almost two seconds off the fastest lap that Dani Pedrosa set during day two on Wednesday.