It won’t come as a big surprise considering Valentino Rossi’s struggle to make Ducati’s factory GP12 machine a consistent podium threat in the dry that the Italian won’t shed any tears if Sunday’s Sachsenring MotoGP clash takes place in the rain.
Rossi’s only podium so far in 2012 came in a wet race at Le Mans when he claimed a personal best result for Ducati with second.
This morning’s opening dry practice session in Germany was a familiar experience for the 33-year-old who finished down in 11th position. His best time of 1.23.481 was 1.124s off the fastest pace.
A rain-hit afternoon session though transformed Rossi’s potential and he was fifth fastest with a best time of 1.32.532.
That left him just 0.304s behind Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, who was fastest in the dry and wet today.
Rossi told MCN: “We had some problems to understand the balance of the bike and the position of the bike with the front in the dry but like in the other races this year in the wet we are fast. I am fifth but just 0.3s slower than the top guys. We are happy if we are able to improve a bit the balance of the bike because we can also be a bit faster. Unfortunately in the dry we have the same problem always and it is difficult to enter the corner. It is a similar problem on the wet, but unfortunately in the dry we are quite slow.”
Rossi said if Sunday’s 30-lap race is dry then tyre choice will play a pivotal role.
He added: “This morning I tried to use the hard tyre and I'm quite constant but still not fast enough. I think for Sunday the tyre choice will be very important if will be dry. The harder is constant and resist more but it is slower. With the soft it might be difficult to manage at the end of the race but at the beginning you can be a lot faster, so the decision is a difficult one. We hope to have some other dry practice to understand, but if it's wet we are also more happy.”
Rossi also said the difference between last year’s 800cc Desmosedici and the new 1000cc GP12 was not that great, with the extra power from this year’s machine having little impact on the tight and twisty Sachsenring.
He added: “Personally speaking the 1000 is just better. It is easier to ride because the engine character is smoother and flat to accelerate. The 800 was a bit stronger and more difficult to manage. But for the rest of the bike it is very similar to last year and also for the lap time and performance. Maybe at the end of the straight the 1000 is faster but not a big difference.”