enjoyed one of his better races in a tough debut season for Ducati
in Misano yesterday, but the Italian was still nowhere near battling for a podium in front of his passionate home crowd. With light rain falling as the field formed on the grid, Rossi capitalized on the uncertainty of some of his rivals to climb from 11th to fifth on the opening lap.
Rossi: "I decided to take a risk because for me it is important to try and take some positions. I wanted to try and stay in the battle for fourth place but it was still impossible. But I stayed with them for 18 laps and that is not bad at this moment.”
He became embroiled in an exciting fight with Marco Simoncelli, Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies but was dropped out of the top six on Lap 16 and he eventually finished in a distant and lonely seventh.
The 32-year-old said: “At the start, I think that the guys in front of me had a lot more to lose so they stayed more quiet in a bad situation. I decided to take a risk because for me it is important to try and take some positions. I wanted to try and stay in the battle for fourth place but it was still impossible. But I stayed with them for 18 laps and that is not bad in this moment.”
Rossi said a front-end modification to give him more grip was the biggest help for the race, but it was a loss of rear traction that saw him slip back in front of a crowd of 53,140 fans.
“We are quite happy because this is one of the good races for us this year because we didn’t expect to be so fast after our performance in the practice. We modified the front, changing the position of the front tire in the warm-up and this provided me with better grip so I can push more. I did a great start and good first and second lap and after I can stay constantly with my best lap time of qualifying in the first part of the race to stay with Dovi, Simoncelli and Spies, so it is a good target for us at this moment. If we made this change on Saturday then maybe I can start one row in front. I can stay with those guys until 18 laps and after I start to have some problems sliding the rear, so I have to slow down but it was a good race and I ride well.”