Valentino Rossi is hoping a crucial test immediately after his forthcoming home race in Mugello will deliver the progress and improvements he wants to be convinced his future lies with Ducati.
The Italian held talks with Ducati technical boss Filippo Preziosi after last weekend’s Dutch TT at Assen, where the 33-year-old was critical of a lack of development direction adopted by the engineering staff in Bologna.
The talks with Preziosi have given Rossi more reason for optimism at a time when Ducati is desperately trying to deliver him a competitive Desmosedici to convince him to sign a new deal.
The nine-times world champion has been the subject of intense speculation linking him with Honda and Yamaha in 2013 and many people a second successive frustrating season with Ducati will see him quit.
But he told MCN in Germany today: “I spoke more deeply and Ducati has some ideas and not just for the engine but also to improve the chassis and the reliability of the bike. Something will arrive before Laguna at the test in Mugello and something else after the break in August. It looks like we have a plan for the future and the second part of the season. I hope we can improve. I am more comfortable and the situation is quite easy to see. I am never fast enough with this bike except in the wet. So we have to try to fix this and improve our performance. Until now we have not been able to make any improvement but we have a plan. The Mugello test is quite important to understand if it is the right way to follow."
Rossi is due to debut a revised GP12 engine in Laguna Seca later this month, which is designed to tame Ducati’s aggressive power delivery and prolong rear tyre life.
He said he wasn’t sure whether the motor would be available to test in Mugello and he added: “I don't if the engine is ready for the Mugello test. With the chassis it will not be a modification but some parts with a different shape and weight distribution and it is the first step to understand the way to follow next year and if it is the right way to improve the bad feeling that I have."
Rossi also spoke about the major rear tyre issue he experienced in Assen last weekend that forced him to pit for new Bridgestone rubber while he was battling for a top five.
Rossi suffered a severe chunking issue with his rear tyre, as did Ben Spies and Ducati management were locked in a meeting with Bridgestone technical staff earlier at Sachsenring to find out the results of exhaustive analysis that took place in Japan.
Rossi said: “The tyre didn't have any particular problem or something wrong in the tyre. For some reason the temperature inside my tyre was too high and this is why I lost some part of the rubber. Bridgestone are speaking more deeply with Ducati to try and understand especially the difference with Nicky (Hayden). During the race I spun less than Nicky and usually this creates more temperature, so it is not because of that. With my tyre the problem came from inside. Maybe we will have something more precise after the meeting between Bridgestone and Ducati. I have two or three different things in my set-up so maybe that is the problem because it doesn't come from the spinning. We have to try and avoid the problem in the future and the different setting we will try tomorrow perhaps will help for the rear grip. If Bridgestone say it was not a problem with the tyre I have to trust them. Maybe it is a combination of some big stress with the 1000 and higher temperature and maybe something different in my setting. It can happen, so we have to understand why."