More Ducati Disappointment at Silverstone

June 19, 2012
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 finished in ninth at Silverstone.
Rossi was the only rider on the grid to use the hard compound rear tire, but said it wasn’t a limiting factor.

Silverstone remains Valentino Rossi’s bogey track after the Italian finished the British Grand Prix in a lowly ninth position. Rossi was off the pace all weekend in dry conditions and more trouble with Ducati’s inherent understeer issue meant he never looked like competing for a top six finish in the 20-lap race.

Rossi was so ineffective on the GP12 that British rider Cal Crutchlow, riding with a broken ankle, needed just six laps to overtake the 33-year-old having come from the back of the grid. Rossi was the only rider on the grid to start with the hard compound Bridgestone rear tire but he denied that was a limiting factor. A cracked exhaust that was sapping his Desmosedici of power on the straights was also not to blame for him finishing a massive 36 seconds behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo.

The nine-time world champion, who was 64 seconds off the winning pace in a rain-lashed 2011 British Grand Prix, said: “This was a very tough weekend for me because apart from the first practice in the wet I am always very slow in the dry conditions. For the warm-up we made a change to the set-up and it was better and I could ride the bike in an easy way. But in the race I had a lot of problems. I tried at the beginning to stay with the other guys but I lost the front twice. I had a problem on corner entry and a lot of front chatter and after some laps the rear tire slide every much. So the race was worse than what we expected. I also had a broken exhaust pipe after three or four laps and lost some speed and horsepower but it didn’t make the difference. Silverstone remains a very difficult track for me but we took some points in the championship and the battle is very close. I am not so far from the second group guys. So this is something positive. But all weekend Nicky was able to go faster than me, especially in the first laps and he did a good race and wasn’t so far from the top guys at the finish. He did a better job than me.”

Had the hard rear tire choice been a mistake, with every other rider choosing the softer option?

“For me this tire was the right choice because with the soft on the left it was too soft for me. With the hard tire I can beat (Hector) Barbera but with the soft maybe no. It was not a problem of the tire choice and anyway the tires were very, very similar. My problem was the front again. I had lot of problems in the corner entry. I was sliding and could not carry enough speed into the corner and if I tried to use the front I had a lot of vibration and for this reason Nicky was faster and did a better race.”

Nicky Hayden held pace in fourth early on  but fell back to finish in seventh.
Nicky Hayden was in podium contention early on but couldn’t maintain pace out front, ultimately finishing seventh.

Lack of Grip Costs Nicky Hayden

Nicky Hayden was proof that Rossi’s hard rear Bridgestone tire choice wasn’t a massive blunder at Silverstone. The American made a late switch to the soft Bridgestone rear tire option and faded from early podium contention to a distant seventh.

Hayden said: “We were really worried to use the soft tire because we knew I was going to be in trouble with it. On the sighting lap I went to the grid with the hard tire on but we started getting some spots of rain and it was pretty dark and cloudy and decided to go with the more safe option. At the start I put in some really fast laps but just destroyed the tire. And when the tire went away nothing works. It was hard to get the bike stopped and I started to get a lot of chatter. The left side of the tire was destroyed and it was impossible to keep the pace. The harder I tried the worst I made it.”

Hayden’s pace dropped so dramatically in the final laps that he couldn’t hold off Cal Crutchlow’s heroics after the British rider came from the back of the grid to take sixth off him on the last lap.
“That’s embarrassing for him start last and beat me,” concluded Hayden.

Rossi is keeping his options open for the 2013 season.
Rossi is keeping his options open for the 2013 season.

Valentino Rossi Coy About 2013 Plans

Valentino Rossi has denied his own future in MotoGP is close to being sorted out after Jorge Lorenzo penned a new two-year deal with Yamaha’s factory squad prior to the British GP. Rossi is keeping his options open despite Ducati publicly stating its intention to keep the Italian legend for 2013.

Lorenzo will stay with Yamaha for 2013 and ’14 but Rossi, who has been linked with Yamaha and HRC factory seats next season, said he wouldn’t be hurrying his future decision.

“The decision of Jorge doesn’t change a lot and for me,” said Rossi. “It is quite early and we have to work on the Ducati to be faster and get some good results before I think of the future. I will think about my future in the summer and minimum I have to wait until after Laguna Seca.”

Laguna Seca is when Ducati plans to roll out a new engine spec aimed at taming the Ducati’s aggressive power delivery but Rossi confirmed he has held tentative talks with Bologna factory management about a contract renewal.

“I think Ducati is very happy to continue and we have already started to speak a little bit about the future.”

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