Despite producing his most competitive showing as a Ducati rider in the wet Spanish MotoGP, Valentino Rossi insists he'd prefer dry weather this weekend at Estoril.

Following a seventh place in the dry Qatar season opener, race-day rain at Jerez magnified the Italian's performance and he charged from twelfth on the grid to fourth in just a few laps.

Into third by lap seven, Rossi was well and truly in contention for a shock debut Ducati victory - but it all came to an end moments later when he fumbled a pass on points leader Casey Stoner and brought them both down.

The accident aside, many might think Rossi would welcome forecasts predicting a 60% chance of rain for all three days at Estoril.

But the Italian - whose team-mate Nicky Hayden went on to take Ducati's first podium of the year in the wet - claims he'd prefer a dry track in order to prepare for the most intensive part of the MotoGP season.

"With the postponement of the Japanese GP, we've had three weekends without a race, so I was able to 'unplug' for a while following the GP12 test at Jerez, although I continued training to help my physical recovery," began Rossi, who got one day of riding on the 2012 prototype.

"Now we go to Estoril, a track I quite like, where we'll continue working on the GP11's setup, particularly during the test on Monday.

"The conditions are often unpredictable at Estoril because the area is very windy and close to the ocean, making for variable weather, especially in the spring. Anyway, although we saw at Jerez that we're already competitive in the wet, we're hoping for sun in Portugal so that we can make the most of our time on the track.

"We still have to understand the bike better, and to work on the setup with the goal of being faster in the dry in time for the most intense phase of the season, when we'll have six races in eight weeks starting in June."

Ducati team manager Vittoriano Guareschi echoed his star rider's view of the weather.

"Vale was fast and very competitive in Spain, especially considering that he hadn't ever ridden the GP11 in the wet. Now the goal is to enable our riders to ride at a similar level in the dry," he said.

During the one-day test that follows the Portuguese Grand Prix, Rossi is expected to test both chassis and engine developments to help with his dry speed.

Guareschi and fellow test rider Franco Battaini have been preparing the new parts during a test at Mugello this week.



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