Valentino Rossi suffered one final humiliation at Ducati in Valencia yesterday when he was lapped in his final appearance for the Bologna factory.
Rossi’s disastrous two-year spell with Ducati ended pretty much as it had started with the Italian icon woefully uncompetitive and nowhere near the podium after he slumped to a frustrating 10th place in tricky conditions.
Rossi started the race on wet Bridgestone rubber but with a dry line quickly appearing he had to pit for slicks. Eventual winner Dani Pedrosa had only just completed half distance when he lapped the nine-times world champion.
Rossi admitted he had wrongly not pitted before the race to switch to his GP12 with slick tyres and he said: “It’s really a shame that the last race with Ducati finished this way.
"Things went well in the wet warm-up, and in similar conditions, it would have been possible to do a nice result. Instead, this half-and-half situation was truly difficult.
"In the end the right choice was to use the slick tyres, but my bike on the grid had a very different setting from the other one, so I didn’t feel like switching.
"With the rain tyres, I felt fine at first, but then when it was necessary to switch, the situation became more complicated. There was a thin dry line, but I couldn’t put the bike where I wanted and as soon as I would go off that line, it was very risky.
"I could only try to finish. I would have liked to finish these two years with Ducati better. They were two difficult seasons, but I nonetheless leave behind many people that I enjoyed working with, and with whom it was nice to go racing.”
Rossi faced a familiar problem at Ducati and he was unable to generate enough heat into the tyres and he added: “I always have that, so I had the same problem.
"I had a lot of problems with the front tyre to arrive in temperature. And it’s very difficult to ride but anyway it doesn’t change a lot.”
For six pages of coverage from the final MotoGP round in Valencia, see the November 14 issue of MCN.