Sachsenring MotoGP Insider: Ducati

July 18, 2011
Scott Mathews
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There are few people worthy of getting an audience with Mathews but he makes himself available on occasion to the racers of the Grand Prix paddock. If they’re lucky, he might even mention their name. He’s Scott Mathews, and he’s bringing you the inside scoop on MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi was positive about his ninth-place result in the German GP despite losing a tense battle with Alvaro Bautista and Nicky Hayden.
Valentino Rossi had his worst finish of the season so far in Germany after finishing more than 27 seconds adrift of Pedrosa.

Valentino Rossi admitted he could do nothing more after slumping to his worst finish for Ducati in 2011 at the Sachsenring yesterday. The Italian ended a dire weekend down in a lowly ninth position as his struggle to make this year’s Desmosedici competitive continued in Germany. Rossi finished a massive 27 seconds behind Pedrosa as he failed to overcome factory Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden and Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista after a race long tussle.

“The race was better because finally we made a modification to the weight balance to improve the front feeling and finally I feel something on the bike and I improved my potential,” said Rossi. “I made a quite good race for our situation and I know that I can battle maximum with Nicky and Bautista and I tried a lot to beat them.”

Rossi though blamed a gear selector problem for hampering his bid to get the better of Hayden and Bautista.

“Unfortunately I had a problem with the gearbox going from second to third coming out of the last corner,” he said. “So when I tried to attack Nicky I had a big problem and also Bautista passed me, so I have to arrive behind. I lost the battle but we improved the performance and now we have to think about what to do in Laguna Seca.”

Valentino Rossi: We definitely improved today compared to Saturday  but were still too far back. We find the race setup late  and that makes everything more difficult  but in order to improve we have to try many things  which makes it easy to lose our direction. Its understandable  because we dont know this bike well and I think we have to take chances and try everything. - Sachsenring 2011
Valentino Rossi is also contemplating ditching the new GP11.1 design after listing its numerous flaws.

Rossi held crunch meetings with Ducati management Sunday night to discuss their strategy for this weekend’s US Grand Prix in California. The nine-time world champion is seriously contemplating ditching one of his new GP11.1 machines to run a direct back-to-back comparison with the old GP11 version he last rode at a rain-lashed Silverstone.
“Sincerely I haven’t decided yet. I need to understand the situation but it has some positives and some negatives.”

Explaining why he felt it was right to ditch the GP11.1 project so soon, Rossi added: “Unfortunately this bike is very difficult to ride with an 800cc engine. It was better with the 1000 and I did some good lap times in Mugello and Jerez and it was for this reason that we tried to modify. With the 800 I can’t load the front and I am very slow. It was not so bad with the 1000cc engine, but with the 800 it doesn’t work well. We hope that with a better rear that the front would get better also. But that doesn’t happen. One problem is with this engine we are not able to put the same load on the front than with the 1000cc engine. The problem is we don’t understand why and we don’t expect it. Secondly, I think with the 1000 we had less problems because you have to use the bike in another way. With the 1000cc engine you make different lines and it was not so bad, but with the 800 you need better corner speed and you have more problems. For sure we expected to be faster and more competitive, but it is not like this. We still don’t understand everything.”

Nicky Hayden: We had good  stable weather all day for the first time in a long time  which makes testing things quite a bit easier. This morning we had a really good session. I came out of the gate strong like youre supposed to and stayed in the top five for most of the time. It wasnt a bad day overall.
Nicky Hayden lost a close battle with Alvaro Bautista for seventh and finished just ahead of Rossi.

With Rossi languishing way outside of the top-six, he missed the opportunity to witness the best race of the season with Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa locked in a thrilling three-way dice for victory. It was the sort of battle Rossi revels in, but he did catch a sneak peak on the TV afterwards and he praised former factory Yamaha teammate Lorenzo.

The Spaniard pulled four more precious points back on Stoner at the final corner with a superb overtake for second, and Rossi said: “Lorenzo made a great overtake because it was a great move at the final corner and I think the championship is starting to become more interesting because Lorenzo doesn’t give up. He rides very well and it is not finished.”

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