Rossi’s Ducati Farewell Suitably Disappointing

November 12, 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 says goodbye to Ducati and hello to Yamaha at Valencia.
Valentino Rossi says goodbye to Ducati to join with Yamaha Factory Racing for the 2013 MotoGP season.

Valentino Rossi suffered one final humiliation at Ducati in Valencia when he was lapped in his final appearance for the Bologna factory. Rossi’s disastrous two-year spell with Ducati ended pretty much as it had started with the Italian icon woefully uncompetitive and nowhere near the podium after he slumped to a frustrating 10th place in tricky conditions.

Rossi started the race on wet Bridgestone rubber but with a dry line quickly appearing he had to pit for slicks. Eventual winner Dani Pedrosa had only just completed half distance when he lapped the nine-time world champion.

Rossi admitted he had wrongly not pitted before the race to switch to his GP12 with slick tires and he said: “It’s really a shame that the last race with Ducati finished this way. Things went well 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. I would have liked to finish these two years with Ducati better. They were two difficult seasons, but I nonetheless leave behind many people that I enjoyed working with, and with whom it was nice to go racing.”

Rossi faced a familiar problem at Ducati and he was unable to generate enough heat into the tires and he added: “I always have that, so I had the same problem. I had a lot of problems with the front tire to arrive in temperature. And it’s very difficult to ride but anyway it doesn’t change a lot.”

Nicky Hayden went down while trying to pass Danilo Petrucci at Valencia.
Nicky Hayden went down while trying to pass Danilo Petrucci at Valencia, ending his record of scoring at least one podium finish in every season of his MotoGP career.

Hayden Loses Proud Podium Record 

Nicky Hayden saw his proud record of scoring at least one podium in every season of his MotoGP career disappear in a disappointing conclusion to 2012 in Valencia. Ever since he joined the Repsol Honda squad back in 2003, the popular American had made at least one visit each year to the rostrum, including three victories. And when it looked like the season finale in Valencia would be wet, many thought Hayden could keep his impressive record going after he had impressed in wet conditions earlier in the weekend.

Officials declared the race wet, but Hayden was one of four riders, including eventual winner Dani Pedrosa, to pit at the end of the warm-up lap for slick tires. It meant he had to start from pit lane but just as he was trying to pick his way through a big CRT battle, he crashed out of contention on the third lap.

The 2006 world champion said: “It was a difficult last race and a difficult season. The race was a huge disappointment because with the weather I thought maybe we could do something good here to end the season but it didn’t happen. I did the warm up lap on wets and then I could see that the track was dry. (Jorge) Lorenzo was in front of me on slicks and he was riding away from us and I came in and switched bikes. I came off the last corner and waited and (Valentino) Rossi didn’t pull in. Dani did though but if both of them had gone to the grid I probably would have followed them. I saw Dani go in and it turned out to be the right decision.”

Hayden was trying to fight his way by Danilo Petrucci’s Suter-BMW when he tumbled out at the final corner and he added: “You come over that hill to the last corner and that lap I had passed a couple of people and was starting to feel good. But the problem was it was so hard to pass and to do it you had to go off line and I was behind Petrucci and really couldn’t find a hole. In the last corner I went a bit wide and was going to square him up and I hit a wet patch on the brakes and I was down. It was really early but it is hard to see the wet spots where it is so shiny. I got excited because I was much faster than Petrucci but I couldn’t get by. It was my fault and I got no real excuse. I felt I had a good chance and I was as fast as (Alvaro) Bautista and (Cal) Crutchlow, so didn’t want to let them get away but I made a silly mistake. But it is so easy to do it those conditions. There was a dry line but if you got off it you were in trouble.”

Andrea Dovizioso couldnt wait to get his hands on the Ducati hell ride in 2013.
Dovi’s already making himself at home in the Ducati garage.

Dovizioso Curious to Test Ducati 

Andrea Dovizioso says he is curious to understand the size of the task he faces to make Ducati a serious podium challenger in MotoGP when he makes his Desmosedici debut in Valencia next Tuesday. The Italian will replace compatriot Rossi in 2013 and his first chance to evaluate the Ducati will come in a two-day test session at the Ricardo Tormo track.

The former 125GP world champion said he no high expectations ahead of the test as he becomes the latest high profile rider to stake his reputation on making the Ducati a competitive force again.

Nine-time world champion Rossi has scored just three podium finishes in 34 races and he will make a return to Yamaha’s factory squad next season in a bid to bounce back from a dismal spell with Ducati.

Dovizioso said: “I’m really curious but there is nothing special in my mind to do an amazing lap time and my feet are on the ground because we know the situation and we have to work. I have no high expectation about the lap time and we have time to work.”

Dovizioso will also take part in a three-day test session in Jerez at the end of November before the winter testing ban commences on December 1.

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