Valentino Rossi concluded his 2009 pre-season preparations with a distant second place behind Casey Stoner during the special 45-minute 'qualifying' shootout, to win a new BMW, during the final day of testing at Jerez on Sunday.
Red flags, rain and a block contributed to the reigning six-time world champion being left a mammoth 0.791sec behind 2008 title runner-up Stoner, although Rossi - who later joked that he had been aiming for second place all the time - admitted that the Ducati star was probably out of reach regardless.
“Really I was aiming for second place because I don't think our sponsor Fiat wanted me to win the prize of a different car!” smiled Rossi. “Joking apart though, I am happy enough about this test because yesterday and this morning we worked very well, made some good progress and most importantly we were fast! We have a good setting for the race here and my race pace and speed is good.
“This afternoon I was quite unlucky because just before the red flag I was on a fast lap and was blocked, then we had the red flag and this meant there wasn't much time before the rain came at the end. I am not sure I could have beaten Stoner today though; he was faster over one lap than me,” confessed the Yamaha rider.
“Now we have finished testing and we're waiting to go racing; I think we're in good shape and it will be possible to push from the start,” warned the #46.
“It's been a positive test because we've pretty much got through everything we needed to and at the end of the day we're in good shape and we've made further improvements to our bike,” added team manager Davide Brivio. “Most importantly, Valentino's race pace is now very good.
“It was unfortunate not to win the 'qualifying' session today because it's always nice to start the season off on that note but Casey was very strong, so congratulations to him. We're leaving here happy and satisfied; we have a few small things to work on for Qatar but we're basically ready to race.”
Rossi was one of nine riders to sit out the final Sunday track session, from 3.15-6pm, due to the wet weather.
The Qatar Grand Prix will be held on the evening of April 12.