Valentino Rossi says he has no regrets about moving to Ducati after a tough debut season with the Bologna factory saw the Italian icon fail to claim at least one victory in a season for the first time in his 16-year Grand Prix career.
When Rossi quit Yamaha after a glorious seven year spell that saw him capture 46 wins and four world titles, many expected him to be competitive on Ducati’s notoriously finicky Desmosedici.
But the 32-year-old scored just one podium in Le Mans and struggled all year to cope with a vague front-end feeling from the GP11.
But in a world exclusive interview with the latest issue of MCN Sport, Rossi said he had no regrets about moving to Ducati.
He said: “Sometimes I regret it but once I start to think more deeply it is something that I had to try, so for me it is not a mistake. The fascination of this challenge is great and I still feel that way.
"It is better to try and have some problems than never try at all and wonder for the rest of my life, what if? I race and I make all the choices of my career like this, and I have a lot of fun because of that.
"So despite what’s happened at the end I have no regrets. The first to be let down is myself and all the people that work with me, and I know the fans are waiting and they expected much better results.
"Sometimes in the past I have been able to start from 11th on the grid but still win the race. So this year when I’ve been in a similar situation they have expected and thought it was possible to do the same.
"But I wish it was like this. I am very sad to let down all my fans but this story is not finished. It will be difficult but we can only do better.”
Rossi believes the toughest year of his career will only galvanise him and Ducati and help him return stronger in 2012 for the inaugural 1000cc MotoGP world championship.
“For me a season like this helps me become stronger. A season like this doesn’t change how I feel about my future. I want to stay some more years in MotoGP and I am convinced that I can comeback at the top and fight for the important positions.
"For sure it will be impossible to make 11 victories in one season but I can stay on the podium often.
"My first target is to try and comeback at the top with Ducati and we have to do this. We can’t finish this story like this and we have to bring the bike to a good level and bring the bike closer to the Honda and Yamaha.”