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Valentino Rossi Vents Qatar Frustration

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Valentino Rossi isn’t happy about his Ducati GP12, and the MotoGP GOAT is going public with his frustration. The nine-time world champion vented to Italian media after his lackluster 10th-place result in 2012 season opener at Qatar.

Rossi continues to look for solutions on the Desmosedici - Qatar 2012
A year after his Ducati MotoGP debut and Valentino Rossi is still struggling, with a worse result in the Qatar opener.
Rossi’s comments, made to Italian television media post race, included statements such as “we’ve run out of hope.” He also stated that he can’t ride the Ducati in its current form, and even considered pulling into the pits during the Qatar race.

The Qatar Grand Prix saw Rossi struggle to break into the top 10. He finished a full 33 seconds behind the winner, his former factory Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo. The huge deficit was earned, in part, by an incident on Lap 5 with Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera. The satellite Ducati pilot forced Rossi to run-off during an aggressive maneuver, but despite the racing incident Rossi would still not have been competitive for a top-five result.

Rossi’s dire post-race comments signal a change in tone, from veiled frustration to outright criticism. The seven-time MotoGP champ is notoriously winless aboard the Ducati, his best result a third-place podium last season at Le Mans. Ducati was under incredible pressure to redesign its Desmosedici racebike in the off-season. Ducati Corse General Manager, Filippo Preziosi stated the then forthcoming bike was “90% new” – the team eventually debuting its new GP12 late in the off-season during the pre-season test at Sepang.

Now a year removed from his 2011 Ducati debut, Rossi appears worse off with the redesigned GP12. The Italian admitted in his post-race comments that he would have been fortunate to fight for sixth with his American teammate, Nicky Hayden. And as bad as the 22-lap race was for Rossi, the low point at Qatar was arguably the day prior, when he qualified 12th – the slowest non-CRT bike and more than two seconds off the pace of pole setter Lorenzo.

The discouraging Qatar results, and subsequent fallout from Rossi’s comments, will be a developing story in the run-up to Jerez. It will also be a major plotline for the 2012 season, which could see Rossi washing his hands completely of the Ducati effort.

The negative publicity for Ducati coincides with reports the Italian brand will be acquired by Audi. And speaking of cars, Rossi will race a Ferrari in the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza. The Doctor had notably toyed with a switch to F1 earlier in his career, testing with Ferrari before hitching up with Yamaha again in 2007.

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rogase   April 15, 2012 04:30 AM
I read an article which said that Rossi new straight away when he first tested the Ducati that he was in trouble. When Melandri asked for changes to the bike they gave him the name of a sports psychologist!! Still you would think that Burgess has been given free reign to basically build another Honda or Yamaha for him but still no success. Interesting to see what happens from here.
mikehannan   April 13, 2012 04:21 PM
Even if Rossi was back on a Honda or Yam it is hard to see him staying with Stoner or Lorenzo. The young aliens are the new guard and Rossi's aura is gone. Stoner has said he doesn't want to still be racing at 30 because he says it is hard to maintain the necessary enthusiasm and dedication for so long. Rossi is well past 30 and must be having trouble getting the motivation to do what is needed. Hayden's good ride and the straight line speed of the Duke show that the bike is fast enough. They need an attitude adjustment in the drivers seat.
bradvanhorn   April 13, 2012 04:51 AM
I had always thought Rossi leaving Yamaha for Ducati was a very high risk venture and now it surely seems doomed. At this point I think Rossi likely would be more competitive on even the notably absent Suzuki GSV-R.
Piglet2010   April 13, 2012 04:00 AM
Just let Ducati have an extra 200cc displacement like they get in other racing series - problem solved.
rogase   April 12, 2012 09:44 PM
This will end in tears. Bottom line no one realised how good Stoner was when he was making Ducati look good. Reading between the lines Casey couldn't believe how much better the Honda was when he came across. Ducati are wasting millions on Rossi, they need young riders and decide to go in one direction so they can try and develop the bike over time.