“Although everything is still far from ideal shape, I’m doing therapy, but for now I suppose [I won’t ] get 100 percent fit by May 1.” These are the first images of Valentino Rossi wearing his new red, white and yellow Ducati leathers. At the multi-day team launch, the rider was finally able to speak about his early experience with the Ducati GP11 and his hopes for the 2011 season. He’s realistic about the challenges he faces after last year’s huge highside and shoulder surgery and now with the need to develop a new bike.
“Right now I have to work harder on myself than on the bike,” Rossi stated. “But I know there is much work to do to make the best Ducati or at least closer to my style of driving, we say that Malaysia will be at 70% and I can have a different picture of the situation with respect to Valencia, where at one point I could not longer drive.”
“When the doctors that I have worked are entered in the shoulder, they realized that the injury was more serious than expected. During the last season, though, I did not felt to shoulder surgery before the end of the races . I could intervene during convalescence after breaking leg in Mugello, but it would not mean back on the bike for another three months, I would have been confined to bed, without even being able to walk with crutches. The other option would have been to operate after the Australian GP, skipping the last two races. But I knew that I could race at Estoril Valencia and finish on the podium. Besides making the choice to work after the test I could try the Desmosedici, although not in top condition.”
“The Desmosedici is really a prototype. Totally different from the Japanese bikes, which are closer to the bikes of the MotoGP series made them famous. Be driven in a completely different way. The curves are very gleaned and delivery is very sharp. I am sure that with my experience and one that my team with Jeremy Burgess we make the Ducati a bike more suited to my driving style.”
Rossi’s answer when he was asked about the possibility of installing a Yamaha-style wall between his and Nicky’s garages was perhaps most indicative of the culture at the new team.
“Right now, I am having to look at the structure of Nicky, if there was no sharing of data I would be ruined! Joking aside, the situation here is different than in the past where I had to protect the work I had done.”