A feature written by viewer Cormac Ryan Meenan. Do you agree? Leave your comments below...
Why haven't Rossi and Ducati clicked this year, and why has he been off the pace of the ever dominant Hondas?
It's a question that doesn't have a straight or easy answer. In Valencia 2010, Rossi got on board a brand new Ducati. An all carbon chassis bike, using the technology Ducati had used through the 2010 season of having the engine as a stress mount to the whole design.
The feeling that Rossi got back from the all carbon chassis was a very vague one, especially from the front of the bike on the entry to corners. Over the winter Rossi had surgery on his shoulder, so by the time the Sepang test came around in February, he was around 85% fit.
Rossi rode an almost identical bike that he had ridden in Valencia, in Sepang, but with minor adjustments to his riding position. He finished the test +0.7 back of Stoner, which didn't seem too far considering it was his second attempt and he still wasn't 100% fit.
It is widely known by now that Jeremy Burgess and Rossi both underestimated the severity of the problems with the Ducati, chiefly because Stoner had done such a good job of hiding them through the whole year of 2010.
For Rossi at the moment, the big problem is just getting the bike turned. The other factories, mainly Honda and Yamaha, are arriving at the apex of each corner at full lean, with the maximum angle possible, meaning that they can hold a tighter line through the middle of the corner and onto the exit. Rossi on the other hand is only getting to full lean with the maximum angle at the apex of each corner, rather than before it.
This means that to be able to drive off each corner with the same speed and commitment as the top boys, he has to take a much wider line through each corner. A clear and obvious example of this was in Brno.
Through turn 8 and turn 9, Rossi had to take a much wider entrance into the corner to drive off it quick enough, giving Bautista huge closing speed during the entry and middle of the corner.
Ducati have worked tirelessly through the year bringing updates, modifications, full chassis and even half chassis to racetracks around the world for Rossi. In Aragon we saw the debut of the “half ” aluminium chassis, which had an aluminium front part, still using the engine as a stress mount, and a carbon fibre swing arm.
Rossi said that it made almost no difference, and the trouble with the front persisted, even causing him to have a small crash off the front over the weekend. In Aragon, to allow for the use of the new chassis, Rossi had to take his seventh engine of the year which meant he had to start from the pit lane. The seventh engine was taken because the mounting points on the aluminium part of the chassis were different to the original carbon one, meaning he couldn't run the sixth engine he had previously been using.