News 5 Feb 2011

Rossi confident in Ducati's capabilities for 2011 season

Rossi believes the Ducati is capable of contending in the 2011 season.

Rossi believes the Ducati is capable of contending in the 2011 season.

Valentino Rossi says its just minimal changes required to make the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 competitive in order for him to challenge for the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.

The Italian nine-time world champion set the 11th fastest time at this week’s Sepang test in Malaysia, however he’s confident that the ‘character’ of the Ducati is suitable for him with a few revisions to his riding style.

“There’s no need to change the Desmosedici’s character, we need to take advantage of its best characteristics – its stability and its engine – and improve the other areas, especially the in-corner behavior, to make it turn better,” Rossi commented.

“In any case, the overall evaluation of the test is definitely good. We’re a second off the top riders, and also in the afternoon, riding with race tyres, the distance stayed around seven or eight tenths.

“I still have to do more kilometers in order to understand other aspects of the GP11 but, although I have to change my riding style a little, I now feel much more at home with the Ducati.”

Rossi is recovering from shoulder surgery that he received during the off-season, explaining that he’s ahead of schedule for his recovery.

“I’m very happy because before coming here, I expected to do 20, 30 laps per day, and as it turns out, I did around 40 each of the first two days and over 50 today,” he added.

“Of course I was really finished by the end, in part because the rest of my body has to work differently – my left arm has to do extra work, so it’s very tired.

“But I’m really happy with my shoulder because it’s improving day-by-day, and even after the stress of having ridden a MotoGP bike at the limit, I don’t have any problems. Now it’s just a question of strength.

“My mobility has improved a lot, and I no longer think my physical limitations cost me a second – let’s say I lose five or six tenths, especially on braking and in corner entry.

“Anyway, we worked well today too, and we were able to collect a lot of data and solve the chattering problem we were experiencing. Obviously, there’s still a lot to do, but compared to the start of the test, we’ve definitely gotten closer to the base setup we’re looking for.”

Rossi was a few tenths off the pace of Nicky Hayden, steadily improving as the team develops the GP11 for the new year.