Valentino Rossi had a terrible start to the 2012 MotoGP season at Qatar – after hinting that there might be some set-up tweaks that would slightly improve performance on the night, Rossi went on to finish in 10th position and over 33 seconds behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo.
In a post race interview with Sportmediaset, Rossi vented some of his frustration in what could only have been described as a calm and controlled outburst.
“We ran out of hope last season. When Barbera passed me, with a hard move that pushed me into the runoff area, he had only one objective: getting in front of me. The actual race position didn’t matter. I even thought about pulling into the pits and finishing my race there, but I kept going only out of respect for my team members, and to collect useful data.”
Rossi then went on to critise Ducati by saying:
“Ducati didn’t follow the direction that I indicated, but I’m not an engineer and I can’t solve every problem. It wouldn’t have changed much to finish sixth. This certainly isn’t an appealing result for me, and I’m aiming at least for the podium. I’m not able to ride the bike as I like. I’m faster on used tires than on new. The rear is pushing a lot, and things only improve slightly when the tires start to slide. I have no confidence, and I can’t even get ahead of Hayden, who gave everything he had to finish 28 seconds behind the leader. The problems with the bike haven’t changed, and neither have my requests. It’s unrideable, and it doesn’t make much difference what track we are on. I’m not able to enter the corners hard on the brakes, and we can’t hope the situation will change completely with the new Bridgestone tires. These aren’t problems you can solve with setup alone.”
The official Ducati press release was a lot more ‘neutral’:
“Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time in the beginning because when I had new tyres with good grip, the rear pushed a lot, making it very difficult under braking. Then Barbera pushed me off the track and I lost five or six seconds. Otherwise, I could have stayed with that group. As the tyre became used and began to slide, I started to ride a bit better and to do better times, to the point that I matched my best time on the last lap. By that point though, it didn’t count for much.”