Understeer is not the only issue that Valentino Rossi believes is preventing him from moving the Ducati GP12 closer to challenging Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo’s recent domination of the MotoGP world championship.
After he ended practice with the eighth fastest time in Qatar tonight, the 33-year-old said taming Ducati’s aggressive power delivery would help him reduce the gap to the front in the new 1000cc premier class.
The Italian finished with a best lap time of 1.56.535 but he was still 1.233s behind Lorenzo, who topped the timesheets.
Since he first rode the radical new GP12 in Sepang at the end of January, Rossi has spoken frequently of the understeer issue remaining that hampered him so much in a disastrous debut season with Ducati in 2011.
But at the Losail International Circuit in Doha tonight, Rossi told MCN: “The front of the bike gives more feedback and feels more like a normal bike. I understand in a better way what’s happening on the front so I can push more on the front, and this is so important.
"But the understeer remains and with this bike you have always the feeling to ride with the rear tyre and it is a strange feeling. The second target is to try and have a better drivability of the engine.
"It needs to be softer and smoother because we have a lion in the cowling and we always fight quite a lot and this creates some problem for us to put the horsepower on the ground and don’t wheelie and slide.
"But now we have a place where it works because at the end of the straight we are very fast. The Ducatis are first, second, third and fourth on top speed, so maybe we can take out some power from the top and put on the bottom.”