Sepang MotoGP Test
Uncharacteristic of the nine-time world champion’s usual MotoGP performance, Valentino Rossi could only post 12th fastest at Day 1, and 13th fastest at Day 2 of testing at Sepang.
Rossi’s time did improve .08 on Day 2, as he posted a 2:02.597 aboard the Ducati Team GP11, but the Italian says his shoulder is affecting his overall performance at the first official test of the 2011 MotoGP season.
Regardless, Rossi and the Ducati team are making progress, experimenting with different fairings on the Desmosedici to aid his recovering shoulder as the team prepares for the first race of the MtooGP season at Qataron March 17.
After completing 23 laps on Wednesday at Sepang for the second of three days testing, Rossi was 1.791 behind the leader, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.
Following is what VR46 was saying after Day 2 in Sepang:
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11) says: "I’m happy because I was able to ride again today. I did another 42 laps, which is reassuring. Even when I work my shoulder hard, I’m finding that it doesn’t get worse, and I don’t suffer too much, to the extent that I was able to start again this morning without having lost anything compared to yesterday.
"Actually, the shoulder is even getting better as I ride, and I’m able to make the movements that are required. Obviously, it’s still a handicap, because eventually I begin to lose strength and the pain increases, but we were able to do some good, consistent work."
"Being able to ride again today is important because the shoulder isn’t getting worse under the continued strain. Everything is fine while riding under 2’03, then when I try to take another second off the strength diminishes and the pain increases.
"It needs more time, without doubt. The situation will improve, but it will be a wait until May. Only then will we be able to work extensively on the bike, because everything we do now could be thrown into doubt when we record more competitive times, when my physical condition is perfect.
"Today we tried a lot of things, especially with the aerodynamics. We focused on comparing fairings and riding with and without wings, and I’m more inclined towards the latter option. The fact is that I’m not in the best physical condition and with the wings I find more resistance in corner entry, which is not good for my shoulder.
"One of the things we need to improve is going through the turns, because I can’t turn the bike as I would like to. Tomorrow we’re going to continue working with the same enthusiasm as we had today, and at the end of the Test we’ll leave with a lot of information.
"We also did a Test with the tires, and that’s something that the Ducati depends a lot on as its behaviour changes a lot depending on whether the tyres are hard or soft," he stated. "The results haven’t been bad, but we haven’t solved the problems with vibration in the front yet. When it starts to vibrate the bike is really difficult to handle.
"Everybody seems to be very much in shape, both the bikes and the riders. It’s normal to go harder in Testing than during a GP weekend. When you have three days in which to ride you can ride fast all day because it makes the bike perform better, and above all because there’s more rubber on the track.
"For this reason I think that tomorrow I can go even faster. Our objective is to improve our times, but mainly to improve my feeling with the bike and find how to ride with less difficulty."