Ducati has pledged to improve its MotoGP machine after superstar signing Valentino Rossi was left just 15th fastest at the end of his Desmosedici debut at the Valencia MotoGP test.
Tenth out of the 17 riders after day one, the seven time MotoGP champion improved by only 0.121sec during his next 70 laps on Wednesday's second and final day.
Rossi's best time was 1.695sec slower than the rider he has replaced at Ducati, Casey Stoner, who was fastest for Honda.
Rossi even came within 0.032sec of being outpaced by MotoGP rookie Karel Abraham, also riding a Ducati.
With Rossi unable to discuss the test due to the terms of his early release from Yamaha, it was left to Ducati Corse general manager Filippo Preziosi to face the press.
The main decision to make is in terms of the 2011 engine - stick with the 'big bang' or switch back to the 'screamer'. Preziosi is leaning towards the more user-friendly 'big bang', which Rossi used throughout day two.
"After these two days of tests we will go back to Ducati for a meeting, where we will decide which path to take between the two engines, the 'big bang' and the 'screamer', although the information we have is pointing towards the former," said Preziosi.
"It will be a decision we will make by analysing the data in depth as well as planning the way forward around all the other things we learnt at the test."
Preziosi then admitted he'd have liked Rossi to have gone faster, and that work needs to be done on the front end of the bike.
Stoner and Hayden crashed out of eight races this season. All those falls are believed to have been triggered by front end problems.
"The objective is clearly to allow Valentino to ride like Valentino! We know we have to improve the bike in order to achieve this, especially the front end," he said.
"He has given us some very precise information and now it is down to us to use it.
"We would obviously have liked to give him the opportunity to go faster today, but even though that wasn't the case he has impressed everybody over the last two days with the way he works, his calm approach and his positive attitude towards everything.
"Nicky also worked very hard, as usual, and set a good lap time on the new Bridgestones as well as the ones we were already using, which is another big positive.
"Now we have to work to give them both a more competitive bike for the next test.Ē
The fastest Ducati rider at the test was Hayden, who used both the 'big bang' and 'screamer' engine on day two, setting his best time with the 'big bang'.
Hayden lapped 1.178sec quicker than Rossi for sixth on the timesheets.
"Today was a positive day for us," said the American. "We tried the 'screamer' and it wasn't easy to switch between engines but it was important to do a proper test on them both and get the data we need to make an important decision. I am leaning towards sticking with the 'big bang' but we will make the decision together."
Of the other Desmosedici riders, new Pramac signing Randy de Puniet was an impressive eighth on his Ducati debut, with team-mate Loris Capirossi one place in front of Rossi on his return to a manufacturer he won seven races with from 2003-2007.
The new sixth Ducati, ridden by Valencia Moto2 winner Abraham, was 16th.
Rossi will now head for surgery on his trouble some shoulder, which he damaged in a motocross accident in April, before making his debut in full Ducati colours at Sepang next February.
SOURCE:Ducati 'must improve' for Rossi to be Rossi | Page 1 | MotoGP News | Nov 2010 | Crash.Net