Ducati boosted by Valentino Rossi’s Valencia debut

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Nicky Hayden reckons Ducati has got a massive boost now that Valentino Rossi will make his much-anticipated Bologna factory debut in Valencia early next month.

Rossi’s Ducati debut had remained in doubt on two fronts until recently. He was only released from his Yamaha contract on Saturday night during the Phillip Island race in Australia.

And until a run of three successive podium finishes, including a stunning 46th Yamaha win in Sepang, his debut on November 9 was uncertain as he pondered whether to miss the final two races to undergo surgery on his troublesome right shoulder.

With a minimum two-month recovery period, the 31-year-old would be ruled out and unable to evaluate the Ducati until early February in Sepang.

And Hayden reckons that would be a big blow to Ducati, with engineers using the winter break to make vital modifications to the bike ahead of the 2011 testing campaign.

Hayden told MCN: “That Valencia test will be important because you don’t want to wait until February. Next season starts in March, so it’s not like you have a lot of time.

"The Valencia test is very important because it’s what gives the team the direction and information to go work for two-and-a half-months.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt