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Valentino Rossi ‘worried’ as Ducati struggles in Sepang

Published: 24 February 2011

Not even Valentino Rossi could put a positive spin on his Sepang MotoGP test struggle after the Italian was left outside of the top ten and nearly two seconds off the pace in Malaysia.

The 32-year-old climbed off his sickbed after being struck by a fever yesterday (Wednesday) but he was unable to make significant progress in solving turning and cornering issues with the new factory GP11 machine.

Rossi ended the test with a best time of 2.01.469 to finish an alarming 1.804s behind a rampant Casey Stoner, who was looking in ominous form on Honda’s dominant RC212V machine to top the timesheets.

The best Ducati was Hector Barbera but he was only one place higher up the leaderboard than Rossi and less than 0.2s faster as the GP11 is proving a challenge to master for a range of styles.

Experienced duo Loris Capirossi and Randy De Puniet were 13th and 15th respectively and both complaining about corner entry stability but Rossi said: “This test was very negative for us and it was also bad because I missed one day with the fever and this made it very difficult.

"Today we had a lot of things to try with the setting but we don’t fix the problem and we are quite worried because I am far away from the lead with 1.8s is a big disadvantage. We have to work and improve because we are still not competitive.”

When asked to elaborate further on his specific issue, the former Yamaha star added: “The first day was not so bad, because I was already on the lap time of the first test and we were quite confident after the first day because we have a lot of things to try like different settings for the rear with different suspension and swingarm.

"I was quite optimistic to improve our lap time and unfortunately yesterday I couldn’t ride, so we lost one day and things became more difficult. But anyway today I was okay. I can make 60 laps and we work a lot on the bike, but unfortunately we don't fix our problem.

"We are not fast enough in the corners. We have a problem to turn the bike, so I always have to slow down too much to make the good line. I can’t ride the Desmosedici in the right way.

"The position is bad because we are just eleventh, but especially the distance from first is very bad. We are quite worried. We have to try to work to improve our performance and usually this track is not fantastic for our bike.

"In two weeks we have Qatar and usually the bike is very strong there. We have to wait to see on another track how our level is.”