IN ASSESSMENT of his own fitness and an opportunity to get some track time in ahead of next week’s test Valentino Rossi took a Ducati 1198 for a spin around Misano.
As testing restrictions still apply until the 1st February test at Sepang, the six-time MotoGP champion swapped his new Desmosedici for the 1198 superbike.
“Today I did a total of 25 laps on the 1198 Superbike, which is sort of a 'historic' motorcycle for Ducati: beautiful and fast. I liked it!"
“The track more or less confirmed what we expected: the shoulder is painful—especially under braking, when the front area hurts, where they stitched the tendon.” He said, “Movement is stable enough, and we're also doing not so bad with endurance, but apart from that, it hurts a lot and isn't very strong.
“Let's hope it gets a little better in these next few days before the test in Malaysia. Once we're there, we'll work with the riding position in an effort to make the most of the situation and collect important information with the Desmosedici, even though I'm not in top form.”
Speculation is rife that the Italian superstar is sandbagging his injuries ahead of the 2011 season in an attempt to the catch his championship rivals by surprise in the upcoming months before the opening race – especially when one takes in to consideration the last minute decision to race in the Wrooom events.
Rossi’s appearance on the 1198 does not come as a surprise as the Italian manufacturer are expecting to take full advantage of their new racing acquisition to prepare for future superbike models.
Claudio Domenicali said as much in the Wrooom press conference this year: “Valentino is universally recognized as a master at taking a bike to its limits, but also at providing feedback that’s extremely useful for development. We think this skill will give us a big push for improving our engineering, and to always give our fans the best bikes possible.”