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Valentino Rossi: 'Hard to concentrate' for poor positions
30 July 2012
At a time when Ducati is trying to convince Valentino Rossi to re-sign for 2013, another off pace weekend - culminating in a fall two laps from the finish - was the last thing the team needed at Laguna Seca.
Rossi is expected to decide his future during the summer break, which lasts until Indianapolis on August 17-19, with a return to Yamaha being viewed as a serious possibility.
The Doctor hasn't won since leaving Yamaha at the end of 2010 and has claimed just two podiums for Ducati.
Nevertheless, huge wage numbers have been rumoured for a 'final' Ducati offer to try and keep the struggling seven time MotoGP champion with the team, although Rossi later stated that his wages would be lower than present if he remained.
Unfortunately for Ducati, whose offer still appears to be substantially greater than the financial package available at Yamaha, Rossi has also said that money is 'not very important' regarding his 2013 decision.
Rossi continues to state his public determination to make the project work, but there remains little tangible progress after a year and a half.
That was illustrated at Laguna Seca where a sixth place for Rossi in 2011 was set to become an eighth pace in 2012 (helped by Ben Spies falling from fourth) - until Rossi crashed on entry to the Corkscrew with three laps to go.
"I wasn't fighting for the podium, but a crash like that at the end of the race is still disappointing because I had done the whole race like the first lap and my rhythm wasn't fast at that moment," said Rossi on Sunday evening.
"Still, I lost the front when I was approaching the Corkscrew, when the bike was vertical, right when I touched the brake, a bit like happened at Silverstone.
"We have a real problem: again today, we had a hard time getting the front tyre to work, and it was like brand new after 30 laps.
"It's a pity because we've had this problem for a long time and we are not able to fix."
Looking back on the first ten races of this season, Rossi gave a frank assessment.
"Very difficult first half, probably worst than last year," he said. "It is very difficult to keep the concentration and enough power, physically but especially mentally, when you can fight for a not very important position.
"We still have at least eight races. Last year the second half was very bad so we have to keep our concentration to make the maximum each weekend.
"I will decide [my future] in the next weeks, probably before Indy, because I cannot think too much during the race weekend because my brain is not free."
Newly re-signed team-mate Nicky Hayden finished sixth, then gave Rossi a lift back to the pits.
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