Rossi: my best race of the season
After finishing on the podium in the last round at Le Mans, Valentino Rossi didn't appear the slightest bit disappointed with his 7th place result in the Catalan GP. Indeed, the Italian declared that it was,"probably my best race of the year in the dry, and it went a little better than the Estoril round. Today I finished close to Bautista, and the group ahead of him wasn't too far away either. If we look at the gaps, both the total gap and the fastest laps, they are the smallest of the season. I rode well here and I didn't make any mistakes. Last year I had finished better than 7th place, but they were also dependent on other riders crashing."
After so much time aboard the Ducati, Valentino is now very familiar with what he and the bike can do. "This is what I expected from the race. This is our current potential. I didn't get a great start, and I didn't make up any places going into the first corner, but I stayed close to the riders in front of me. In the first ten laps I also had some problems with the front brake; it was very spongy and I could barely stop at the end of the main straightaway. I had to ride defensively, and so I couldn't attack anyone. Later on I was a little faster than Bautista, but unfortunately in the final laps the rear tire fell off a lot. I have to use a lot of oversteer to turn the bike, and so the rear tire suffers a lot. The front isn't helping us enough. At the end I had to give up and chance of passing Alvaro."
The are problems which Rossi hopes to address in the upcoming test sessions. "These tests will be important. We will try the aluminum swingarm again, and we have other setup ideas to verify. We want to see if modifying the weight distribution will help create more front end grip. That will help me turn the bike better. We hope to take another step forward, since the competition wasn't too far ahead of us today. I'm satisfied with the latest electronics package, but we need more experience to take full advantage of it. We will try and solve the other problems tomorrow."
The goal is to begin having fun on the bike again. "I'm still not enjoying myself as much as I would like. There is still little I can do when trying to attack another rider, because it puts too much stress on the rear tire. Today it would have been great to battle with Alvaro in the closing laps, but I couldn't do it. I'm still missing something. This season the situation is clearer, and we know what we must do. I also think we can do better with our current material, at least by a few tenths. The problem is a lack of front grip compared to the Hondas and Yamahas, and if we can resolve this problem, we will be at less of a disadvantage.
Regarding the next round: Silverstone was a tough race for us last year. At the minimum we need to repeat our result from today."
Translation by Sean Sedacca