By Stephen English
After setting the second fastest time in wet practice at Jerez on Friday afternoon, Valentino Rossi languished outside of the top ten throughout Saturday's dry qualifying session for the Spanish MotoGP.
The Italian finished the day just 13th fastest, +3.429s from pole, having been outpaced by not just the satellite Ducati riders but also Randy de Puniet's Aprilia CRT bike.
After the session Rossi once again spoke of not being able to adapt to the Ducati and how he still lacks the front-end feeling to attack the track as required.
“The problem is that I lose a lot of time on the entry into the corners,” said the nine times world champion. “I am not fast enough for putting the bike into the corner and putting the bike to maximum angle.
“I need more time to arrive at the maximum angle or I need to close the throttle too much to try and put the bike on the ground. I lose a lot of time in this area.”
With team-mate Nicky Hayden qualifying on the front row of the grid in third position it was clear that the Ducati had the potential for far more than Rossi was able to achieve.
As a result, Rossi and his crew have once again come under fire for their inability to adapt to the Ducati.
When asked about whether he would have been better served by having a crew of mechanics with prior experience of the Ducati, Rossi once again defended his decision to bring his own crew, led by Jeremy Burgess.
“I know what to do to go faster, but unfortunately it doesn't work with the Ducati,” said Rossi. “My team is in the exact same position. For 30 years with different bikes and all the tricks they do to go faster don't work with this bike.”
Rossi qualified twelfth on the grid for the Qatar season-opener, and finished tenth in the race.