Rossi focusing on the second group

Reality sets in as Ducati aim for the second group

Struggling with the performance of the Ducati Desmosedici and ongoing shoulder issues Valentino Rossi may have to focus his intentions on the second group after falling further behind the pace of the Hondas.

Challenging weather and track conditions hampered Ducati's efforts to close the gap to the seemingly mighty Hondas, and with just days to go until the season opener perhaps the team is setting their sights on the second group battle and hope development accelerates as the championship unfolds.

Rossi completed 50 laps on the final day of testing with a 13th best time of 1m 56.988s, over a second off Stoner's fastest lap. Commenting on Tuesday test, the Italian said:  “I’d say that today was pretty challenging: the weather conditions were much tougher than yesterday, and I had another crash when I slipped on a white line" Unhurt from the minor spill Valentino continued the test, but ran out of steam 90 minutes from the session end due to weakness in his damaged shoulder. "Between now and Thursday, I’ll do some light exercise and have it massaged, and then we’ll see.”

Nicky Hayden also had a minor off, lowsiding into turn two, but his confidence remained high for this weekend posting a ninth fastest 1m56.726s. He said: "We know it’s going to be a tough one, because everyone is pushing so hard, but we’ll do our best to come in here and make a good showing."

The hype and speculation ends this Sunday as the 2011 Moto GP season kicks off, surely the most anticipated opening race in a long time.

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