Valentino Rossi News
Valentino Rossi was the guest star last weekend at the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza.
The nine-time world champion, currently struggling with Ducati GP12 in the new 1000cc MotoGP era, was very competitive in the Ferrari 458 GT3. VR46 finished ninth place in a field of 60 cars, Rossi putting on a performance close to the best professional car racers.
Unfortunately, Rossi’s race was compromised by a damaged Ferrari 458 due to some contact, the most serious arriving when his teammate Alessio “Uccio” Salucci in Monza was piloting the Italian supercar.
Ready for the Podium
Beyond the final classification, Rossi’s performance was very positive at the wheel of a GT. Staying in the Team Kessel paddock boxes during the three days, we saw a very serene man, focused on developing his skill quick enough to race on the limit. Even if complexity in the BES was less than that of MotoGP, it’s still racing. This brought out that winning character once so typical of Rossi.
At the end of each day, Rossi was always pleased with his performance, although he kept a low profile and didn’t gloat.
Rossi, who arrived Thursday afternoon at Monza driving a yellow Ferrari, had quickly managed the most important parameters of his car – the suspension – by himself and from a few fellow racers in the paddock.
In both dry and wet conditions, “the Doctor” drove well, and was pleased with every performance, a huge contrast to what occurred the week before at Losail International Circuit, Qatar, the opening round of the 2012 MotoGP Championship.
At the BES, Rossi took a ninth-place finish in PRO-Am GT class (18th overall). But, more importantly, was his performance. Rossi was an optimal performer in the PRO-Am class, and although he car was damaged he recovered to post respectable results.
After the race, Rossi told us he was very stoked about the race.
Valentino Rossi says: “These cars are fun to drive, even in wet conditions. I even tried to do some laps with the electronic controls off…but it was impossible.”
Was Rossi’s participation in the BEC a gradual prelude to a future of full-time employment behind four wheels? Only time will tell…
From Four Back to Two
Joining Rossi at Monza BEC was his MotoGP team manager, Davide Brivio, and Ducati Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi. We asked Brivio about the situation with Ducati, but the tone assumed by Rossi and his staff was soft. They are waiting for “better times, even if a little frustrated by not being where you should,” as Rossi told us.
As for the possibility of racing cars again in 2012, it all depends on compatibility with his main priority and commitment to the Ducati Team in MotoGP. But the will is there, and Rossi’s performance makes him worthy of competing in a bigger class, such as the PRO category.
And we all wonder if Rossi will return to his winning ways in MotoGP. Considering last year’s performance and so far this year, there appears to be much work left to do on the Ducati. But the factors are so many when you climb into the saddle of a MotoGP bike, and it’s difficult to understand 100-percent what Rossi is exactly going through.
After such a great performance behind the wheel of the eight-cylinder Ferrari, Rossi can hopefully replicate those happy moments behind the controls of the four-cylinder Ducati GP12 in MotoGP. Well see what his performance is like at the second round of 17 at Jerez April 27-29.