It’s not hard to see that Valentino Rossi has struggled during his debut year aboard the Ducati MotoGP Team GP11 and GP11.1.
In 13 of 18 rounds so far in the 2011 MotoGP Championship, Rossi only has one podium, third at Le Mans, France. This is very unusual performance for a man who is a nine-time World Champion, but not so much for a manufacturer that has one title – 2007 with Casey Stoner aboard the Ducati.
This is the situation for Rossi as the series heads to Aragon Motorland this weekend for the second consecutive year.
Last year Rossi could only finish sixth on the Yamaha M1. But the Italian remains focused, hoping to further develop the desmo and begin earning some typical Rossi results at Aragon MotoGP, especially because former Ducati rider Stoner won there last year, and Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden finished third.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “Last year at Aragon was the best race of the year for Ducati, so we approach this round with our expectations a little higher than usual.
“In addition, after the difficult practice sessions at Misano, we found a good setup in the end and I had a better feeling with the bike and managed to ride it better in the race, especially in the early laps. Now we’ll try to combine the two things-the track that seems to work well with the Desmosedici and the good setup work-in order to find the same feeling on Sunday.”
As mentioned previously, Hayden finished third at Aragon last season, which was his best MotoGP finish of the 2010 Championship. Once again Hayden will compete on the updated GP11.1, and the American hopes to improve on his performance this weekend.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “It’s nice to go back to Aragon, which I like. We haven’t been there a lot, so it’s still new and fun. Last year, it was clearly our best weekend of the season, and in theory, it should suit me and our bike a little bit this time as well.
“The track was brand-new then, and it was grippy and completely smooth, so we’ll see how well it’s held up. It has a lot of ups and downs, and quite a few corners with open exits, which should be good for us. I’m 100% okay from my crash at Misano, so no excuses there. Hopefully we can catch a little break and have a good weekend at Aragon.”
Rossi and Hayden will began piloting their Ducati Desmos at Aragon Friday for the first of three practices ahead of Sunday’s MotoGP.