Assen MotoGP: Valentino Rossi urges Ducati action

Published: 29 June 2012

Valentino Rossi urged Ducati to devise a clear plan for future development of the struggling Desmosedici machine after he qualified in 10th position for tomorrow’s Dutch TT at Assen.

The Italian posted a best time of 1.35.057 in a rain-hit session but was still 1.344s off Casey Stoner’s pole position time.

Weight distribution changes to Rossi’s GP12 to try and gain more rear grip and extend rear tyre life only sacrificed too much front-end feeling and the nine-times world champion told MCN: “Today was more difficult for us because we tried to move the weight more to the rear with a set-up to reduce the rear sliding and improve tyre performance. 

"But when we moved the weight to the rear unfortunately the bike became very difficult to ride at the front. I had less grip so it was more difficult to stop the bike under brakes and also less turning and more understeer with less weight on the front. It was quite difficult.

"At the end we have to come back to the setting of yesterday which was a little better but with the problems I was not fast enough. I was also a little unlucky because I kept a lot of soft tyres back for the time attack but the rain came and I could use just one tyre.”

Rossi then went onto say that Ducati’s technical staff in Bologna, led by Filippo Preziosi, needed to focus on a clear development strategy to improve the Desmosedici and bring it closer to Honda and Yamaha.

He has scored just two podium finishes in 23 races and at a time when Ducati needs to be convincing Rossi to sign a new contract, it seems his belief in the project is fading.

The bike is still suffering an understeer issue that radical changes like switching to a conventional aluminium frame has failed to cure.

A revised engine spec will be rolled out at Laguna Seca but this year Rossi and team-mate Nicky Hayden have also struggled with excessive rear tyre wear and have been unable to maintain a fast pace over a full race distance on worn Bridgestone rubber.

Rossi said: “I think that in Ducati to try and bring this bike to a better level we need a clear and a better plan to try and fix the problem. At this moment we expect just a different engine to try and have the bottom smoother, which I think is a good idea.

"But for the problem of the understeer and to finish the tyre too early I don't know what I have to expect.  We need some good ideas because to try and fix the problem it is not enough just to try with settings. We need something more but unfortunately I don't know what.

"We have known about this problem precisely from Portugal. We arrived to a good setting and did a pretty good race. It is the same problem I spoke about at the test in Jerez because I did a simulation and I stayed behind (Stefan) Bradl and I said exactly this. So it was March. 

"After that we had to arrive at a good point of speed to try and understand because in the first two races I was very slow but from Portugal the problem looks the same. 

"For this reason I expect some good ideas and a good effort to try and fix this problem because it is very optimistic to try and think that just moving the weight on the bike will fix the problem."