Rossi: it's time to look ahead
In the end it finished just the way it started, or perhaps even worse. A tenth place result with the only positive aspect being that he brought the bike home in one piece. Now it's time for Valentino Rossi to leave the Ducati garage for good,"but not before stopping to say goodbye to all the guys I worked with - the Italian rider revealed - they are all great people, and I enjoyed working with them. It's normal to feel sad during a time like this. I would have liked to have sorted the bike out during these two years, or even just to have ended with a good result, but it wasn't possible. Now it's finished and I'm looking toward the future. Hopefully I can perform better in the test, and the weather will be nice."
Of course this shouldn't imply that Rossi gave anything less than his best: "At the start of the year, I immediately tried to identify the problems with this bike and explain them to Preziosi - Rossi continued - We tried to solve them all, but we couldn't do it. That said, if I were in Hayden's shoes I wouldn't want a completely new D16; it's better to evolve the current bike. The high and low points with Ducati? For sure the podium at Misano was the best moment. A nice result at the home race of both me and Ducati. And I couldn't choose a low point, because there were too many of them."
Today's race included: "It’s really a shame that the last race with Ducati finished this way. Things went well this morning 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 tires, 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 tires, 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."
The Doctor was also gracious in his praise of the winner: "Pedrosa was very clever: he followed Lorenzo on the warm-up lap, and he realized that slicks were the best choice. He was smart to stop and change bikes immediately. Marquez also had a great race, and I think he'll be immediately fast in MotoGP. His riding style already seems well suited. He's the only rider to have won as much as me at age 19, so I don't think people calling him the next Rossi are exaggerating."
Rossi also had kind words for Stoner, as the Australian is now retired from racing: "Casey was a great adversary to battle with, and fantastic MotoGP rider. It's a shame that he's stopping so early, because he could have been at the top for some time to come. But when a rider says it's time to stop, he is always right."
And finally a word on the proposed rules changes for 2014: "The change that worries me most is the reduction from 6 engines to 5. I don't understand why they are doing it, and I think we are already at the limit. But I guess the engineers think they can improve reliability even further."
The full audio interview is below:
Translation by Sean Sedacca