Valentino Rossi suffered another Ducati front-end crash in yesterday’s Phillip Island race that heaped more frustration and disappointment on the nine-times world champion.
Rossi had just passed factory Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista for fifth place on lap 14 at Turn 10 when he lost the front-end of his GP11.1 machine and tumbled out.
Rossi was once again baffled as to why he’d lost the front with what he felt was a routine overtake on Spaniard Bautista at the downhill right-hander.
Yesterday’s crash was the latest in a long line of front-end crashes for the 32-year-old, who seems increasingly bewildered at how to solve Ducati’s inherent lack of front-end feel.
He has complained constantly ever since he made his Ducati debut in Valencia nearly a year ago about a lack of front-end confidence. But radical changes to the Desmosedici, including a switch to an aluminium frame, are having little impact.
Rossi’s crash in Phillip Island continued a dismal October for the seven-times MotoGP world champion after he tumbled out of the Japanese race earlier this month on the first lap.
Rossi said: "It’s a shame because I could have been fifth. It was an unfortunate crash that I wasn’t expecting. I had lost a bit in the first laps compared to (Nicky) Hayden and Bautista, but then I found my rhythm and I was going to catch them because I was in a better situation with my tyres. I caught them fairly easily and I passed Nicky.
"Then when I passed Bautista, unfortunately, I lost the front after passing him. I didn’t expect it at all, because it wasn’t such a violent or late braking move. You can see that well from the television. I had already passed Bautista in the left-hand corner and after looking at the data, I entered exactly as I did on the previous laps. The front closed, and honestly, I don’t understand why."
For more from Valentino Rossi and all the reaction to Casey Stoner’s MotoGP title success, see the October 19 issue of MCN.