Rossi: Ducati has reassured me
Any hope of salvaging another difficult weekend ran out with 10 laps remaining, when Valentino Rossi entered the pit lane with a destroyed rear tire. "It was impossible to keep going - the Italian rider explained afterward - Spies and Barbera also had the same problem, but it happened to them with only 4 laps remaining. I couldn't have made it to the finish line. Our setup was identical to what we used in the warm-up, and this morning I did 13 laps on the soft tire without any problems. Immediately after the race start I felt some chatter in the rear, and that has never happened before. It was difficult to ride."
As for the exact cause of the tire issue, they still aren't sure. "The Ducati stresses the tires more than other bikes - Rossi continued - but this time we were losing large chunks from the tire, something that only happens when the tire overheats. It was a wasted occasion because, thanks in part to the numerous crashes, we could have scored a good result. I got a good start, and before my problems I was studying Hayden to see where I could attack him. Nicky was stronger in the first part of the circuit, but I regained the ground in the faster sections."
Everyone was also curious to hear Ducati's reaction to Valentino's strong statements from yesterday. "I spoke with those who are here at the track, and they guaranteed me that they are fully committed to the project. But we need to see what updates will be available in the next races, and if we can become competitive. I think we can still be competitive, but it's important that Ducati trust 100% in what the riders are telling them." Rossi also reassured his faith in technical director Filippo Preziosi: "he is the soul of the company, and he needs to be given full faith and support."
The Doctor also shared his view of the race up front. "More than tire choice, Honda's key to victory was the braking move from Bautista - the Ducati rider joked - But if Lorenzo wasn't taken out, he surely would have been at the front. It's hard to say if he could have won, though." As for Alvaro's mistake: "You can make an error at the first corner, but this time it was too big a mistake. He braked 20 or 30 meters later than usual. When I saw him passing so quickly, I asked myself, 'how many is he going to take with him?' I think the penalty is justified."
Below is the full Italian audio interview:
Translation by Sean Sedacca