At last weekend’s bwin Grand Prix Ceské republiky in Brno, promising signs for the Ducati Team during practice did not materialise in the race as an oil leak and excessive rear tyre wear hindered Valentino Rossi’s charge.
His team manager Vittoriano Guareschi sums up the weekend, and looks forward to what should be a very productive break before the next race at Misano: “It was a strange weekend for us, because we started the weekend very well. We did a good job with the team and the bike was working very well, but unfortunately this was only up until the race. In the race we had a problem with the rear tyre. The grip dropped very quickly, and after five or seven laps Valentino had a lot of problems and was in danger of not finishing the race.”
“We have a test next week in Misano. The first reason is to improve the bike for the next race which will be in Misano, and also because we have new stuff to test. We want to understand what happens after changing the weight distribution, because we want to improve our bike as we finish the season. And this is a good opportunity for Vale and the team.”
Injured Nicky Hayden did not take part in the Brno race, nor will he partake in the mid-week tests, yet Guareschi remains confident of the American’s return for the next race: “Nicky will be with us in Misano. I don’t know, maybe he’s not 100 per cent in the race, but we want to have a good race with Nicky. For Nicky it’s not a good luck track, because in the last three years he hasn’t finished the race. And it’s important to finish the race in a good position to end the championship in a good way.”
For Rossi, Misano is a particularly important race in front of his home crowd, and Guareschi is optimistic about the Italian rider’s chances: “It’s the home race for Vale. He’s very happy that we have this test before the race to improve the bike, because he wants to get a good result. We think it’s possible, as the shape is good for our bike and also for Valentino. I think it will be possible.”
Rossi, who was left wondering what could have been after Brno, is hoping that the tests can help turn his fortunes around for the next part of the season: “I started well and the early laps weren’t bad, although the bike started to lose oil right from the beginning. It went on the footrests and the brake- and shift levers, which bothered me, as my feet were slipping everywhere. I probably could have done a bit better without that inconvenience, and maybe I would have finished close to Dovizioso. Anyway, I also had to slow down because the rear tyre began sliding too much after some laps, which has been our problem. Now we’ll see in the test at Misano in two days if we can manage to find something to help us in the last races.”