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Ross heads for last Ducati race

“It will be a strange weekend that should be challenging for a few different reasons, but we'll do our best” – Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi will bring the curtain down on a disappointing partnership with Ducati at this weekend's Valencia season finale.

When the seven time MotoGP champion switched to Ducati at the end of 2010, it was the dream deal Italy had been waiting for since the factory's 2003 debut.

Rossi, who had won two races for Yamaha either side of a broken leg during 2010, was also inheriting a bike that had claimed three wins (from nine podiums) in the hands of Casey Stoner that season.

Even the most pessimistic predicated that Rossi would fight for occasional race wins with the Ducati.

The reality has been significantly lower, with Rossi - who had never failed to win less than two races in a premier-class season - managing only occasional podiums (three) during his 34 races and not a single front-row start.

But the most baffling aspect has been the lack of linear progress.

Even die-hard Rossi fans were braced for a low starting point at Ducati, after seeing other proven winners struggle on the Desmosedici, but expected The Doctor and his crew to steadily refine and improve the package, clawing their way closer to the top.

Changes to almost every aspect of the Desmosedici have been made since 2010, but on-track progress has been sporadic - almost random - and the fundamental issues Rossi felt from the very first test, to do with the front end, never fully solved.

Stoner took 23 race wins and a world title for Ducati between 2007-2010, but Rossi was unable to adapt his previously all-conquering riding style in the same way.

Rossi's only consolation during his two seasons in red is that he has been the highest ranking of the Ducati riders - seventh in 2011 being followed by sixth (and a chance of fifth) heading into this Sunday's finale.

Rossi's pre-Valencia comments, as distributed by Ducati, made no direct reference to it being his last race for the team:

“Valencia definitely isn't one of my favourite circuits, apart from the fact that it's in Spain, which always has a great atmosphere.




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Dave Smithers - Unregistered

November 06, 2012 2:03 PM

It's such a shame that Rossi has failed with Ducati. To 'only' do as well as Hayden is just not good enough for a guy who was once at the top. Id like to know the truth as to whether Rossi has been trying his best or not though. He has admitted himself to not pushing to the limit, which i find totally absurbed for a top level racer, let alone to publically admit it. He is employed to race and put in 100%, and if he is seriously saying he has not been doing that, then Ducati should have given him the boot a long time ago in my opinion. I respect Rossi for what he has acheived in the past, but no one can ignore his failure for the last 2 years. I try not to bring up Stoner in Rossi threads and vice versa, but these 2 seasons of failure for Rossi, different bike or not, being more or less on level terms with Hayden, proves that he is not even close to the level of Stoner. Great rider yes, but clearly not the greatest that people thought he was.



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