Sunday, July 17, 2011

'Upset' Rossi ready to ditch new Ducati

Valentino Rossi Ducati Sachsenring 2011

Valentino Rossi's struggle to turn around his Ducati fortunes hit a new low on Saturday at Sachsenring, when the MotoGP superstar qualified just 16th out of the 17 riders.

Rossi's best lap time, of 1min 23.320sec came on only his sixth of 30 laps and was 1.639sec behind pole sitter Casey Stoner.

The Italian - without crew chief Jerry Burgess for the second event in a row - also lapped 0.925sec slower than he had managed on his return from a broken leg at last year's event, when he qualified fifth on a Factory Yamaha.

Rossi, the only Ducati rider using the latest GP11.1 motorcycle - which features an 800cc engine attached to next year's (1000cc) chassis and a new seamless transmission gearbox - was almost one-second behind the 'standard' Desmosedici of his team-mate Nicky Hayden (eighth).

As such, Rossi has now revealed that he could ditch the GP11.1 and go back to the previous version.

"We are very upset, because we are struggling very much this weekend. I am very slow and close to last," Rossi told the official MotoGP website.

"For three races now we've used the new [GP11.1] bike to try to improve on the performance of the old one. 

"I tried this bike with the 1000 engine and it was not so bad, but with the 800 engine the bike became very difficult to ride and I cannot load the front of the bike.

"So our performance at the last three races has been very, very bad. Especially in practice. And here it has been worse.

"So now we think maybe to come back to the normal, standard, bike. I don't know when. Maybe after Brno [mid-August]. We will decide after tomorrow. 

"We've tried changing more or less everything on the bike [here] and, at the end, the lap time and our performance does not improve. 

"So I don't know what we can do for tomorrow's race, but we won't give up and will keep trying to improve."

Saturday marked Rossi's worst qualifying performance since he was 17th, out of 19 riders, for the 2007 Valencia Grand Prix - when he only completed five qualifying laps due to a massive accident.

Rossi claimed one of his most memorable wins with an eleventh to first charge in the 2006 German Grand Prix, when he held off three Hondas by just 0.307sec.

Despite his problems, Rossi is fourth in the world championship after eight of 18 rounds.


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