Aragon MotoGP: Valentino Rossi baffled by struggling Ducati

Published: 19 September 2011

Valentino Rossi admitted he is starting to run out of ideas of how to transform Ducati’s fortunes after he slumped to a bitterly disappointing 10th place at the Motorland Aragon track.

The Italian was hoping a new aluminium frame rushed out for the Aragon weekend would help give him the confident front-end feeling he so desperately craves.

But the new frame was hardly any better than its carbon fibre predecessor as Rossi spent the majority of the race locked in a close battle with British rookie Cal Crutchlow and Hiroshi Aoyama.

Rossi had to start the race from pitlane and 10 seconds after the race had commenced after he went over his six-engine allowance for the season.

That was the least of his worries though and while he recovered to the top 10, his lap times would not have been good enough to fight inside the top six had he started on the grid.

The 32-year-old told MCN: “I'm not sure what is the real problem. It is maybe a problem to match between me and the bike and I'm not sure if with this new chassis if the situation improves or if it really is a problem of the material.

"It is very difficult to say. Unfortunately I am not an engineer and I don't know. This answer must arrive from Ducati.”

A lack of front-end grip once again prevented Rossi from riding close to anything like his preferred style and he added: “The feeling with the front was not so bad and I am quite good in braking and the entry but I remain slow in the change of direction.”

The biggest issue for Rossi in the 23-lap race was a severe lack of rear grip and he said: “The rear grip was the main issue of the weekend. This became bigger with the race tyre and from the second lap I had an amount of spin that I never saw in practice.

"It was completely destroyed and I’ve never seen a Bridgestone tyre like this. But it is another thing and I don't want to say that with a good tyre I would arrive on the podium. I thought we would have a better pace but I lost a lot in the final eight laps because of the problem with the rear tyre.

"I have to slow down because I had a lot of vibration and it was very scary to ride the bike, but even with the right rear tyre we cannot be fast like we want to be. The problem is that we work a lot and in many different ways but it looks like we don't fix a lot.

"We continue to be quite slow apart from some good races we are not constant and we don't fix the problem. We have to concentrate to work hard and understand the way to improve the feeling of the bike because I am not able to be as fast as I want or ride like I want.”

For more on the changes made to Rossi’s bike and the thoughts of Stoner and Jerry Burgess on the Ducati situation, see the September 21 issues of Motor Cycle News.