The Thursday of words of the Red Bull Ring will remain forever in the annals of MotoGP, the day in which Valentino Rossi announced his personal retirement from racing (at least on two wheels). The news was a blow to the heart for thousands of fans, many of whom grew up in the midst of the epic period of the "Doctor" of Tavullia. As was said openly during the press conference, he had a real possibility of continuing in his new structure alongside his brother, but in the end, he decided to stop permanently as he would have to start from scratch. It was a desire that would have exalted Luca Marini himself.
“Valentino had said absolutely nothing to me, but I expected it as a press conference of this kind is not organized out of the blue. Forcing him would have been wrong, he knows the environment by heart, so he knows what his expectations are for the future. Listening to his words, I was a little surprised, he represented one of the most iconic figures in motorcycling, the greatest ever and he will be the same in the future. It will have a certain effect not seeing him in MotoGP again - he specified - I don't deny that I would have liked to have raced alongside him to add a touch of romance to the story. Regardless of his decision, the important thing is that Vale is happy. From next season I hope that he can sometimes return to the paddock to watch the races and support me, it would be fantastic ”.
Moving on to the track, on the opening day of free practice in Austria, the 23-year-old had the opportunity to test the lowering device specially designed by the Borgo Panigale manufacturer for the very first time.
“This weekend I have the holeshot system on my bike, I felt good and I must admit that it works very well. Even if the bike is a few centimetres lower than in the past, the sensations are almost identical - he continued - it will undoubtedly allow us to gain something in terms of acceleration and top speed, roughly around one or two tenths per lap. That’s not much, but given the current gaps, it can still make a difference”.
On a Friday conditioned by changing weather conditions (14th in the combined), the Team Avintia rider is already looking forward to next year, when he will make his debut in the newly created VR46 branded outfit.
“During the holidays various meetings were held with Ducati, the situation is fluid. In any case, barring changes, I will have a Desmosedici version 2022 at my disposal. I am aware of the enormous effort they are making to bring eight bikes to the track, but when I speak with them they show the affection I need. There is an excellent professional relationship, so I can't wait to start this project because I am convinced that the new bike will represent a further step forward ".
Bastianini: "Good in the wet, less in the dry"
After his brief spell as special guest at the round of the CIV Italian Superbike Championship at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, today Enea Bastianini returned to the Ducati of the Avintia Esponsorama Team after a lengthy stop, ending Friday in 21st absolute position.
“Nice to be back in action and embrace MotoGP again. They go very fast and it's really a parallel world compared to the road bikes ridden in the summer break, that gave me a taster for it. The holeshot works well, I like it and I think it can give us a big hand on this type of track. This morning I struggled more than expected, however I am calm as I made a mistake in some points and, above all, I had to get used to the usual automatic routines again”.
Things improved in the afternoon when the rain dominated. The reigning Moto2 World Champion covered several kilometres in poor grip conditions, showing good pace (11th in FP2).
“I finally had a positive feeling in the wet, even though I had to spend several laps before I could fully trust it. Overall I was pretty fast. In the final minutes the line was dry except in two corners and it became difficult to manage the tires, we continued with the same train of soft instead of fitting the medium as others did. They had a big advantage, but the times are not significant, considering that tomorrow should be dry. We need to focus on the ideal set up in terms of qualifying ”, he concluded.