Filippo Preziosi may be publicaly defending Valentino Rossi’s talent, but during tonight’s qualifying session in Qatar, the former World Champion completely lost his way and also lost a number of fans who are no longer blaming the Ducati for his performance, but putting the blame squarely on The Doctor’s skinny back. They found his performance highly embarassing for a rider of his caliber and undefendable, especially after seeing Nicky Hayden take fifth on the same bike and every other Ducati rider qualify ahead of him.
In 12th and one second from Hayden and two seconds from Jorge Lorenzo and just eight tenths faster than Colin Edwars, has left Rossi’s confidence and motivation in tatters and tomorrow if his team doesn’t find the proverbial rabbit in the hat -that is checking out his team mate’ss data- he’s going to be battling with some highly motivated CRT riders who are going to try take him on, which could turn out to be blood bath not only on track, but also in Borgo Panigale.
“Our goal tonight was to be in the top five, and I’m pleased that we achieved that. I did a 56.1 on a hard tyre and to be honest, I thought maybe I could do something really special with the soft, but all things considered, I think we did decently in our first qualifying session. We’ll see if we can come here and turn it into a result tomorrow night. Tyre life is going to be important, and since we’re using up the tyre a lot, we need to work on that. I still struggled a bit with chatter and understeer, especially in the fourth sector, where the corners are flat, but the GP12 is certainly the fastest Ducati I’ve ever ridden, which could come in handy in the race. I think it will be a hard race, but I’m really looking forward to it. There’s a big gap to the top two, but we’ll try our best to get a good start, get into that second group and fight like dogs to hold on. Hopefully we can leave here with something positive,” said Hayden.
A depressed and confused Rossi said, “Yesterday was nothing fantastic but a lot better, especially with the used tyre, so my goal was to qualify on the second row. I’m very far from that target though, as the problems that we had before were worse. It’s very strange because we only made some small changes from yesterday, but the feeling was very different. After that we returned to yesterday’s setting and I went a little bit faster, but it wasn’t enough to significantly improve the result. I’m not sure what to expect for the race, but obviously, I hope to do better. Nicky made a different setup choice than ours and did a good session with both tyres, so now we’ll also look at his data and try to do better.”