Assen MotoGP: Valentino Rossi demands more from Ducati

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Valentino Rossi declared his competitive debut on Ducati’s new factory GP11.1 bike a success in Assen but urged the Bologna factory to roll out more parts in the near future.

Rossi finished fourth on the radically revamped Desmosedici, which featured a GP11 800cc motor run with a chassis, swingarm and rear suspension system designed for next year’s GP12.

Rossi scored his best result since registering his solitary Ducati podium in Le Mans last month but he was still over half-a-minute away from winner Ben Spies.

Heading to his home race in Mugello next weekend, the nine-times world champion said: “The race was a lot better than Friday and this is so important. We are in a situation where we can see things more positive because we are a lot more optimistic for the next races looking at the race here.

“In the Warm-up we tried a different setting that improved my feeling in the rear a lot and in the entry to the fast corners, especially on the left, I gained 15ks compared to Friday and I ride the bike in a lot better way

“Under this point of view we are very happy but unfortunately we always arrive too late with the setting because you need to work on this bike in a different way and it is a bit more complicated.

“We need to modify our way and we have in the box a lot of Ducati people that know very well this bike and can help us. But the gap in the race and on a single lap is too much and we need to work.”

Rossi is still struggling to generate heat in the hard front Bridgestone tyre with his current set-up and cold conditions helped him, as he had no choice but to race with the softer compound option.

Rossi told MCN: “It was very critical conditions but I have some pushing in the beginning but with less fuel my tyre worked well, so exactly for this reason it was the right choice because we don’t put temperature on the hard front.

“If we can put temperature on the hard we can go faster because the hard is for sure better about performance. But my soft tyre worked well and if I had another six or seven laps I could have arrived at (Andrea) Dovizioso.”

Rossi also reflected on another tough day for close pal and compatriot Marco Simoncelli.

He crashed on the opening lap in an incident that also took out an innocent Jorge Lorenzo.

Simoncelli was pushing too hard before his Bridgestone rear tyre had reached peak working temperature and Rossi said: “First I am very sad for him because he is my friend and now he is in a difficult condition.

“This was a normal mistake in the race. It can happen with the cold tyres but he needs to understand the way to fix this problem.”

For a full technical analysis of the GP11.1 and the views of Rossi and crew chief Jerry Burgess, see the June 29 issue of MCN.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt