Indy MotoGP: Valentino Rossi slumps to woeful 14th

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Valentino Rossi suffered another Ducati disaster in Indianapolis and the Italian will start today’s 28-lap race from a lowly 14th place on the grid.

An early crash and then a struggle to gain any confidence with the front-end of his GP11.1 in baking hot temperatures left the 32-year-old over two seconds off the pace of Casey Stoner’s pole position lap of 1.38.850.

Rossi could only clock a quickest time of 1.40.975 and only Toni Elias, rookie Karel Abraham and compatriot Loris Capirossi will start behind him on the grid.

The nine-times world champion said: “It was very difficult and we are very sad because we hoped we could confirm the performance of the last two races in Brno and Laguna Seca.

“In the morning session it was not so bad but unfortunately in qualifying I had a crash at the beginning and I damaged the good bike and especially two new tyres, so I had to go out with the other bike and it was a little bit difficult. 

“Also I had to use the harder tyre and I lost the feeling with the bike and at the end I am very much behind.”

The big issue for Rossi is the struggle to find front-end confidence as the temperature hit 31 degrees and track temperature peaked at just over 50 degrees.

He added: “During this weekend we use the bike better in the morning in the cooler conditions but always we were pushing with front problems in the afternoon. It is like until 30 degrees are on the ground I can ride the bike and I have a good feeling with the front.

“But when the temperature goes up to 50 I start to always push too much the left side and I cannot ride well because every time I have the feeling that I can push I lose the front, so it was a very bad practice.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt