Valentino Rossi Valentino Rossi came crashing back down to earth with a bump today after the Italian ended the opening day of practice at the Catalunya circuit down in a disappointing 12th place.
Boosted by his best ever Ducati result in a rain-lashed Le Mans race and a positive test at Mugello last week, the 33-year was optimistic he’d be competitive inside the top six in Catalunya.
But a lack of rear grip with his GP12 meant he could only set a best time of 1.43.537 to finish slowest prototype rider on track.
His best pace was set in the morning session as Rossi opted not to run the soft compound Bridgestone rear tyre this afternoon. But he was 1.438s behind world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, despite running new electronics and a new aluminium swingarm he tested in Mugello.
Rossi said the new electronics were a positive step in taming Ducati’s aggressive power delivery but he was unable to feel the full benefit with so much wheelspin.
And he said the new aluminium swingarm that improved corner entry feel in Mugello was no improvement in Barcelona.
He told MCN: “Today was quite negative, even if it is worse than the reality because at the end of the afternoon more or less everybody used the soft tyre and could lower their lap time.
"But I continued with the hard tyre working for the race. So for this reason I am more back than what I expect but we are not very fast. We suffer a lot with rear grip in acceleration but each modify we try this afternoon had a bad affect on the front.
"I lose the feeling on the front and we had to go back for the last exit but we are not fast enough.
"We are quite worried because we have to understand a way to increase the rear grip without losing the front feeling. We have to hope to fix the rear problem without upsetting the front.”
Assessing the aluminium swingarm, Rossi added: “With the swingarm in Mugello I had an advantage, especially in corner entry. But here unfortunately I don’t feel this advantage. Maybe we can go back to the carbon one tomorrow and try in a better way the aluminium on Monday and also in Aragon with more time.
"The electronics help me in acceleration and the bike is easier to ride but we need more mechanical grip from the setting and this is the main problem. With this amount of spin the electronics help but only by a small amount.
"To use the potential we need more mechanical grip. I like the electronics and I will continue to use them.”