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Rossi: “The Ducati is a proper prototype”

Rossi: “The Ducati is a proper prototype”

The Italian spoke for the first time as an official Ducati rider on Tuesday, discussing his views on the Desmosedici, his recovering shoulder and the forthcoming MotoGP season.

Valentino Rossi spoke for the first time as a Ducati rider at the Wrooom 2011 event at Madonna di Campiglio on Tuesday, satisfying the demands of both media and fans as he discussed the Desmosedici.

Sporting Ducati’s red colours Rossi also talked to, and started by joking: “I feel quite strange speaking in red! We were always big enemies with Ducati, so I need time to feel normal in this shirt!”

In an earlier press conference Rossi described the Ducati as “a proper prototype”, with a “different concept from the Japanese factories”, and a similarly pressing subject was that of his recovering shoulder.

“The problem was that the surgery was a lot heavier than expected because the damage was very big. The doctor said it wouldn’t be a problem to recover 100%, but that I’d need more time. From that moment I have worked hard. I expect to be fitter, but we have to put in 100% to be at the minimum level to ride for Sepang test,” explained Rossi to in the attached video interview.

Following his first Test on the Desmosedici in Valencia last November, Rossi had surgery on his shoulder and said: “The big problem in Valencia was me. I had a lot of pain in the shoulder and not enough power. This is a different bike and you have to ride it more aggressively. This is my work at Ducati, to improve it and make it an easier bike and have fewer risks in all the races. Stoner was unbelievable in some races last year but made some mistakes too and ended the Championship in fourth. So far we have been working on easier things such as rider position, handlebars, foot pegs for Sepang, and there we will start to work on improving the bike.”

The all-Italian partnership between the nine-times World Champion and the Borgo Panigale factory is one which has added to the excitement, and Rossi is well aware of the expectations.

“I will definitely have extra pressure with Ducati compared to the past, because a lot of fans around the world are curious about my performance with Ducati. We have to manage this and it will be very hard work – maybe we won’t be ready to win in the first races so I hope the fans will give us enough time.”

The 2011 campaign, in which Rossi said he sees Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner as “favourites” for the title, will also reunite him with former team-mate Nicky Hayden, something the 31 year-old is looking forward to. “I have always had a good relationship with Nicky since 2003 when we were team-mates with Honda,” he said. “I’m very happy to work with him. He’s a great guy and has experience on the Desmosedici, so maybe he will help us in the beginning. It will be completely open with no wall in the box.”

And finally, when asked when he expects to be in full flight on the GP11, Rossi added: “I hope when the summer starts.”

MotoGP, 2011, Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team

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