Under intervjuet i Monolitt fjellene i går, kom det frem at Valentino Rossi ikke kan stille til sesong start i MotoGP fordi skulder skaden var verre enn antatt.
Da han la seg under kniven 15. november i fjor fant legene ut at skaden han pådro seg i krasjet var verre enn forventet og de har derfor måttet justere opptreningstiden fra tre måneder til nærmere fem, seks måneder, nesten det dobbelt enn hva han ble forespeilet før operasjonen. Men, da skal skulderen være 100 % bra har legene forsikret han om.
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Rossi admitted that he wont be close to fit for the Feb. 1-3 first test of the year in Malaysia, but we are working a lot so as to recover at least the mobility of the shoulder than I need to ride well and stay within the fairing on the straight. So I hope to be able to ride well, even if its going to be impossible for me to be extremely strong physically. For the strength Im going to need more time. So its a fight against time, this is true.
It wouldve been easier if I had been in shape from the start. It is probably not going to be so, unfortunately, and my shoulder was more severe than what was expected from the medical point of view, so based on the controls that we have done during the year it seemed just the result of a normal, but in reality the problem was a bit bigger. And so the physicians told me from the start that the shoulder will go back to 100%, but it will take a bit more time to go back to 100%. So not only do we have to improve the Desmosedici but also on my part I have to try to get well. This is my first goal.
Some consideration was paid to having the shoulder surgery after Rossi broke his leg in Mugello early in June. That would have put him bed for a month, since he couldnt use crutches. The other possibility would have been skipping the last two races of the season so as to undergo surgery after Australia, he said. Surely I would have some in better shape to the first tests in February, but I didnt want to stay home and skip four races. I knew that in Portugal and Valencia I could do good two nice races, and I was sorry at not being able to race the last two races. Also ,because I was able to ride with the other riders I had the possibility of testing also the Desmosedici even if I was not at 100% physically, but I tried at Valencia. So at the end, the perfect solution did not exist, so this was perhaps the best one that I took, hoping of course that Id be in shape for February 1st.
Rossi said his shoulder was causing him enough problems at Valencia that he could no longer ride, thus explaining a great deal about his lack of overall speed on his first ride on the Desmosedici.
When he did ride with the other riders, Rossis fitness prevented him from thoroughly exploiting the Desmosedici in his maiden outing following the Valencia GP. Unfortunately, in Valencia I could no longer ride, he said. I did not have any more strength in my right arm, so it was not in shape. And so we were going to have to test the bike when we are going to a bit better, when we are going to be 100% physically.
Rossis surgically repaired right shoulder works, but he doesnt have the entire range of movement to fit within the fairing on the straight, to cuddle up within the wind screen. So thats what I have to work on so that on February the 1st I can at least be capable of having the right position in the fairing and be able to ride. Thats what the problem is.
Rossi being Rossi, he gathered enough information during the Valencia test to begin the work of making the GP11 more user-friendly, and his team, led by Jeremy Burgess, got straight to work. The result of those changes will be unveiled on Wednesday at Wrooom 2011, the annual team press introductions for the Ferrari and Ducati Marlboro teams in the Italian Dolomites.
For the time being, Rossi began, we havent done anything radical from the initial. Nothing radical, just the riding position, and we asked to make some changes on some of the components on the bike so I can feel a bit more comfortable so I can ride a bit more like to ride the bike. But of course, after this we are going to find a solution midway, meaning that we have the improve the Desmosedici to make a bike that is not only fast, as it fast now, but it should become also easier to ride. So where possible, lets say, we should be able to make it more rideable, but on the other hand, on my part, Im going to have to adjust to the bike and change also my riding style so as to exploit to the maximum this bike.
Rossi considers this year as his greatest challenge, mainly because of his physical condition in addition to the move to Ducati.
Rossi pointed out that Stoner was always very strong on the GP10, though certainly less so until a radical set-up change transformed the bike at the Aragon Grand Prix. According to Rossi, Stoner rode this bike, lets say his style is a bit special, he has a special riding style that he could exploit this bike. Hes very strong in riding in all conditions. His major talent is adjusting himself to whichever set-up of the bike and to whichever condition, but he had been with Ducati since 2007, so he did four years, four seasons he worked on it, so at the end it was a great feeling with that bike, and this is something that I still miss, of course. So apart from improving the fine tuning of the bike I have to do many kilometers to see how it behaves, the Desmosedici, on all the race tracks. This takes time. And, as one reporter pointed out, time is no longer on Rossis side.
The rider who always seemed invincible, and hadnt missed a start in his professional career-he was at 230 and counting when he broke his leg in Mugello-suffered two grievous injuries in 2010. Was age catching up to him?
Well, surely Im no longer 20, unfortunately, but this is something thatI think what happens, the accident with the motocross bike, but also Mugello, which could have happened anywhere and in any other year, so it just happened by chance, he said. Of course when youre younger you recover earlier on. When youre older, you have to train more to go back in shape, but Ive never thought about quitting because I think that I still have some other years, some years in which I can be fast and competitive. So there is still a desire on my part. And also this changes. The team gives me plenty of motivation so Im sure that I can, and I hope to be able to, remain at the top for a few more years.
As for winning or losing, this challenge, I dont know. We are going to give our best and were going to have to see how much time I can back to be perfectly fit physically, if I can be perfectly fit for the beginning of the championship. Thats going to be very important.
He compared the challenge of moving to Ducati to 2004, when he left Honda for Yamaha and began the process of turning the Yamaha YZF-M1 into what is now considered the finest MotoGP weapon. The difference, he pointed out, is that at that time I was 100% physically and it was the bike that had to grow more. In this case with Ducati, the bike is already strong, it just has to be fine-tuned, so to say. But especially in this case I have to get back in shape. So usually as the winter training Im riding bikes. This winter I could not do anything, so this means that I have to go back to riding, and theres less of that than almost ever.
In a move to cut costs, testing restrictions were put in place a few years ago. The teams have only three tests in the new yeartwo are in Malaysia and the third is the week before Qatarto develop their bikes. With Qatar so close to the season-opener, very little of substance can be done. Certainly its too late for a design change.
Today, now, we have only three tests with the Desmosedici and as, mentioned, also have to wait to be physically fit with my shoulder, he said. So of course, unfortunately, it is possible Im not going to be at 100% from the start. This is true. And this is of course negative for our championship. However I cannot change this. So I simply have to work calmly knowing that were going to need some time, but we believe in being able to do it.
Rossi: «Historically, the Ducati bike has always been evil, nasty. You have to ride it with your fingernails, your claws. I think I will be able to do it.
With talk of the shoulder dominating the conversation, Rossi was asked very few questions about his first impression of the Desmosedici. His first comment was that the Ducati is different from the M1. «It must be driven with a more dirty style. Let us say with the Ducati you must take corners more sharply. You have to trust yourself to the bike. I hope to be able also to modify the bike to make it more easy for me to ride.»
As to what hell change, he answered, Its a bike. You can change whatever you want. So I think we should be able to improve the bike to make it a bit easier and more competitive from the start to the end of the race. This is what I expect.
Rossi also pointed out that, although Stoner was quite fast, he wasnt consistent. In spite of the fact that I broke my leg and skipped four races, I was able to finish in front of him. That means we have to work to improve the bike, Rossi said, then asked if they need a brutally fast bike that is risky to ride, no. We need a bike that is constant and competitive from the beginning to the end of the race. So we need to risk a bit less.
Historically, the Ducati bike has always been evil, nasty. You have to ride it with your fingernails, your claws. I think I will be able to do it.
Rossi concluded by saying, I think my work for Ducati can be divided into two parts. The first is the most important, it is to try to win, of course. And so to be competitive as soon as possible. But together, here is where my experience comes in, we also have to try to improve, I have try to help Filippo (Preziosi) to allow them to make a step forward, so to work like I did also with Yamaha to improve the Desmosedici, in this case, and to bring it to the top. To make it more competitive, and easier to ride.