Rossi’s Clutch Woes at Mugello MotoGP

2011 MotoGP

It was a typical situation for Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi this weekend in Mugello. Throughout the practice and qualifying sessions for Sunday’s MotoGP, the Italian Rossi and couldn’t find proper setup aboard the revamped Ducati GP.11.1.

Vale Rossi qualified 12th before a home crowd, but was able to redeem some positions due to a last-minute setup change before Sunday’s MotoGP. Rossi didn’t get a great start, and was plagued with clutch woes, but was able to pick off riders for a sixth-place finish at round eight of the 2011 MotoGP Championship.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team GP.11.1 MotoGP) says: "We have a bike that is different in many aspects from the one we started the season with. We’re aware that it needs to undergo further development from a technical point of view, but even at this stage it has shown that it has a good margin of improvement just with setup.

"The weather didn’t help us at Assen, and the same was true here. We had limited time to work this weekend, so once again we made a significant setup change on Sunday morning. It was a step forward, and in the race I was able to have a better rhythm than in practice, although the improved behavior in corners was accompanied by a small loss of grip. Anyway, we think it’s a good direction to try in the future with our MotoGP setup.

"I lost some time on the start because the clutch slipped, and I was almost last into the first turn, with a lot of ground to make up. It’s a shame because I’ve always managed to do well on the starts with the Ducati this year. Still, I’m not sure how long I would have been able to stay with Spies and Simoncelli even if I had started better. The gap on lap times was less than at Assen MotoGP, which is positive, but it’s still quite large, about eight tenths. We have to keep working in order to stay with the Hondas and Yamahas.

"We’re all doing all we can, both us at the track and the guys at Ducati. It’s certainly a difficult situation, but to come here to Mugello and see all these flags and fans cheering always provides a big thrill and gives us motivation to return to the front."

Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati MotoGP Team Manager) "We made a significant change to the setup of Valentino Rossi’s bike in this morning’s warm-up, and it helped us to be faster, but he didn’t have a good start in the race. There was a problem with the clutch, and Valentino Rossi was left behind. He made a nice charge, but it took him thirteen laps to recover and get behind the group that he battled with. Rossi had a good pace after that, close to that of Spies and Simoncelli."

VR46 returns to the track at Sachsenring in two weeks.