2012 Jerez MotoGP
It was the same scenario once again in the Valentino Rossi pits Sunday at Jerez for round 2 of the 2012 MotoGP Championship.
The nine-time World Champion continued to struggle with setup on the Ducati Team GP12, though he feels optimistic about future performances due to finding more comfort during the Jerez race.
But the beginning of the round was hectic. Due to rain showers during the free practice sessions, the Ducati Team of Rossi didn’t find optimal dry setup. Weather conditions were also mixed at qualifying; Rossi, who had won at Jerez eight times, qualified 13th.
And although a threat of rain existed, the entire 27-lap Jerez MotoGP was held under dry conditions. Although not much time was allowed for finding a dry setup, Rossi found comfort on the GP12, and finished the race in ninth.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “The positive thing from (Sunday’s) race is that I think it might help us to do a bit better in the coming events, starting next week in Portugal. Today we used a setup that’s new for us, and it gave some positive signs.
“First we tried some solutions to give me a feeling similar to what I’ve had in the past, but it doesn’t work. Today’s setting was very similar to what Nicky has used for a while, though not exactly the same. I must get used to riding the bike a bit differently than I’m used to, and today that caused me to lose some ground in the early laps because I was basically starting blind.
“I wasn’t going bad once I found my rhythm, in the sense that I was matching the times of those who were fighting for sixth place, and I was able to push until the end, doing a 1:41.0 on the penultimate lap. This helps me to be a little more optimistic as I look ahead to the next races because if I’m able to ride a bit better, it could be a place for us to start from.
“In fact, we’ll use this setting when we start on Friday. Naturally, we’ll have to keep working, be more effective in qualifying so that we can start further forward, and improve acceleration and a number of other things, which we’ve already discussed at Ducati as we try, together, to improve the GP12.”
As for Rossi’s teammate, the American Nicky Hayden had different results during qualifying, placing the GP12 on the front row for a third-position start. But as the race went on, the 2006 MotoGP Champion lost grip, eventually having to settle for eighth.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “It was fun for a couple of laps. We know our bike is great at generating heat in the tires, and for the first few laps, I was able do what I wanted. Then about the time it looked like the other guys’ tires came up to temperature, mine had already started losing grip, especially in the front.
“I was pushing wide in places and guys started coming past me. We knew it would be tough in the dry. My setup was okay, but to really try to go with those guys wasn’t possible. I was able to close back down on Bradl at the end and have a bit of a race the last couple of laps, but he beat me. Eighth place is certainly not what our goal is. The bike’s got a lot of potential, but at the moment, the gap to the rest is still too far. Hopefully we can get a dry weekend in Estoril and try to be closer to the front on Sunday.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati Team Manager) “Today we wanted to see both Nicky and Vale finish the race closer to the front, but overall, there are several positive things to take from this weekend as we continue our work and our development path for the GP12. We received confirmation that we’re very fast in the wet, and in the dry, we had a good qualifying session with Nicky, who made the first row.
“Nicky was very competitive in the early laps of the race, and now we must also improve over race distance with him. Vale found qualifying difficult, but in the race, using a setting that he’d never tried, he felt okay and was steadily gaining confidence and going faster. These are signs that show us the direction to follow starting with the next round in a few days in Portugal.”
The Ducati Team will be back to work this Friday for the first free practice of the Portuguese MotoGP in Estoril. After Sunday’s race, the team will remain in Portugal for a post-race test on Monday.