Valentino Rossi was denied the chance to aim for a lap time within one-second of the regular Ferrari F1 drivers, after rain during Friday's second and final day of the Italian's special Mugello test.

The reigning six-time MotoGP world champion had lapped within 1.5sec of F1 pace during his first day on track, which also marked his first Ferrari F1 appearance since 2006, and aimed to build on that performance during the final day.

But the Tuscan weather had other plans and Rossi completed just a handful of dry laps on Friday morning before the rain arrived. Rossi then suffered several spins in the slippery conditions, one of which required a lift back to the pits in a service car.

Overall, Rossi completed 56 Friday laps with a best time of 1min 24.04sec in the dry and 1min 33.56sec in the wet. The test ended just before 5pm, when visibility was too bad to continue. Rossi had set a 1min 22.55sec best on Thursday.

Despite the poor Friday weather, Rossi insisted that he had enjoyed myself and once again thanked Ferrari for the opportunity. Rossi and Ferrari insisted that the test was 'just for fun' and a celebration of their title-winning seasons. Rossi turned down the chance to pursue an F1 career with Ferrari in 2006.

"The test went quite well," Rossi said at the end of Friday's track action. "Unfortunately I could just go out for a couple of laps on a dry track in the morning, but we also tried it on the wet track. I was impressed and it went well.

"The car is fantastic and all in all it was a good test. I want to thank the guys from the team and obviously Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali, who were really committed over the last two days. I felt like a real Formula One driver!"

Rossi was driving a Ferrari F2008, which won this year's F1 constructors' world championship and finished second and third in the drivers' world championship with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. It was the first F1 car Rossi has driven without traction control.

Rossi will now return to MotoGP action during his final test session of 2008 at Jerez from November 26. Shortly after, The Doctor will be at the controls of a Ford Focus WRC car during Wales Rally GB, the final round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, which takes place on December 5-7.

Rossi has a Yamaha MotoGP contract in place until the end of the 2010 season and continues to indicate that rallying, rather than Formula One, is his most likely destination after MotoGP.

Mugello test - Friday:Valentino Rossi ITA Ferrari 1min 24.04secValentino Rossi ITA Ferrari 1min 33.56sec (wet)

Mugello test - Thursday:Valentino Rossi ITA Ferrari 1min 22.55sec

Comparative Mugello lap times:Ferrari's previous Mugello test - September 2008:
1. Luca Badoer ITA Ferrari Test Driver 1min 21.010sec
2. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1min 21.079sec
3. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1min 23.618sec (damp)

Badoer drove on the 17th, Raikkonen the 18th and Massa the 19th. All three were using the F2008 car.

Unofficial all-time Mugello F1 lap record:Rubens Barrichello BRA Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1min 18.704sec (2004)



Loading Comments...