SACHSENRING, GERMANY, JULY 5 – Less than a week after sounding like he was on the verge of leaving Ducati, nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi presented a more measured tone, though it was far from optimistic.
At last weekend’s Dutch TT, Rossi said that little had been done to improve the Ducati Marlboro Desmosedici GP12 in the past few months and that there wasn’t a definitive plan moving forward. Since the race, when he was forced to pit after severely chunking his rear Bridgestone, he’s spoken with technical boss Filippo Preziosi, who assured him that there was a plan and that it was being implemented.
How soon the results will show up on the racetrack isn’t known. The team is testing following next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, so it’s unlikely their fortunes will drastically improve here at the Sachsenring. But with Preziosi providing guidance on the rest of the year and the future, Rossi was willing to listen.
He said he’d spoken “more deeply” with Preziosi and found that Ducati has “something, we have in Ducati work and I have some ideas, for not just for the engine, but also for improve the chassis and the rideability of the bike. And something will arrive before Laguna in the test in Mugello, something different. And something else after the (summer break), more in August,” presumably prior to the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. “So looks like we have a plan for the future and for the second part of the season and we hope we can improve.”
Rossi said he was more comfortable with the information, while admitting that he’s “never fast enough with this bike, except on the water. So we have to understand, not to understand why, but try to fix this thing and try to improve our performance. Until that point, unfortunately, we weren’t able to make any improvement, but we have a plan for try.”
The one-day Mugello test on Ducati’s home track, where they do most of their testing, is “quite important,” he began, “for understand, especially, is the right way to follow.” Whether the new spec engine would be ready for Mugello wasn’t known, but there would be changes to the rolling hardware.
“Yeah, is not the chassis modification, but we have some parts of the bike with a different shape, different weight distribution and is the first step, also for understand the way to follow next year and if it’s the right way to improve the bad feeling that we have,” he said.