Valentino Rossi could ditch Ducati’s radically revamped new GP11.1 following tomorrow’s German MotoGP race after the Italian finished in an embarrassing 16th place in qualifying earlier today.
The stunned 32-year-old revealed he would revert back to the GP11 as soon as possible, though he wasn’t sure whether he could dump the GP11.1 for next weekend’s US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Preparations for Rossi’s 250th Grand Prix appearance could not have been any worse as he clocked a best time of 1.23.248 to finish over 1.6s behind Casey Stoner, who stormed to his sixth pole position in nine races.
Only Sylvain Guintoli, standing in for the injured Loris Capirossi at Pramac Ducati, was slower than the nine times world champion.
The decision to roll out the GP11.1 in Assen last month has already spectacularly backfired and Rossi could be back on the old GP11 in California next weekend.
Meetings to be staged immediately after tomorrow’s 30-lap Sachsenring race will decide which bike Rossi will ride at Laguna Seca.
The GP11.1 was unveiled in Assen and was heavily based on the GP12 bike Ducati was developing for next year’s 1000cc class.
Rossi was impressed by the improved handling, so Ducati rushed out the GP11.1, which is effectively the chassis, swingarm and rear suspension system off next year’s Desmosedici using this year’s 800cc motor.
The gamble clearly hasn’t worked and Rossi is ready to scrap the GP11.1 after just three races and he said: “We are thinking to use the old bike. We will speak tomorrow after the race but for sure I will make a comparison test between the two on the Monday in Brno.
"I don’t know if we can use it before. I don’t know if it is possible to have the old bike in Laguna Seca. We haven’t decided yet.”
Explaining why he felt it was right to ditch the GP11.1 project so soon, Rossi added: “Unfortunately this bike is very difficult to ride with an 800cc engine. It was better with the 1000 and I did some good lap times in Mugello and Jerez and it was for this reason that we tried to modify. With the 800 I can’t load the front and I am very slow.
"It was not so bad with the 1000cc engine but with the 800 it doesn’t work well. We hope that with a better rear that the front would get better also. But that doesn’t happen. One problem is with this engine we are not able to put the same load on the front than with the 1000cc engine.
"The problem is we don’t understand why and we don’t expect. Secondly I think with the 1000 we had less problems because you have to use the bike in another way.
"With the 1000cc engine you make different lines and it was not so bad, but with the 800 you need better corner speed and you have more problems. For sure we expected to be faster and more competitive but it is not like this. We still don’t understand everything.”