Valentino Rossi admitted he simply isn’t fast enough at the moment after he ended another tough test on board Ducati’s factory GP11 machine in Qatar tonight.
The Italian crashed at Turn 7 when he touched a white line and lost the front-end on only his 18th lap.
And he could only post the 13th fastest time as he struggled for strength with his right shoulder as the second night of the final pre-season test wore on.
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Rossi is still regaining full strength in the right shoulder he first damaged nearly a year ago in a motocross training accident.
And as he tired during the second evening at a windswept Losail International Circuit in Doha, Rossi was unable to use the soft compound Bridgestone rear tyre to improve his pace.
He ended with a best time of 1.56.988, but only rookie Karel Abraham was behind him on a Ducati as he finished 1.307s behind a dominant Casey Stoner.
Rossi said: “The crash was a small crash because I touched a white line. I lost the front and after I came back on the track I made my best lap time and it was not so bad. But from that moment I finished my power and the shoulder gave me a lot of trouble.
"When the other guys at the end of the day pushed more with soft tyres, I finished my power. We also don’t try with the soft tyre because I brake a lot earlier and I don’t have enough power to stop the bike.
"For this reason we are quite behind and unfortunately this problem becomes bigger because we need to work a lot on the bike to improve the setting. We have to be quiet and work on the shoulder to keep the right power.
"I made 100 laps in two days, so the schedule of the weekend will be easier because it is less work."
The 32-year-old told MCN his situation wasn’t as bleak as it appeared on paper but he said it was clear Ducati had major work to do to help him challenge for wins in the early part of the season.
He said: “I think it is not as bad as it looks. To understand the potential of the bike you have to look at Randy (de Puniet) who made a 56.4, so the potential is higher than what I’ve done.
"The work is already hard but the condition of my shoulder makes this work even harder.
"At the end when the other guys improve I don’t have enough power to use the soft tyre and I decided to stop. We have a lot to do because I am not fast enough on the bike and I don’t ride this bike like in the proper way.
"The work to do is a lot. We try to make a lot of things but it is a long work that becomes longer because of my physical condition.”
Asked where he anticipated he could finish in this weekend’s opening round in Qatar, Rossi ruled out the possibility of emulating his fairytale Yamaha debut win back in 2004.
He said: “For me the two Hondas now are in another planet. They are faster than all of us. After that I don’t know exactly. I hope to stay with the second group.”