News & Multimedia

Rossi's Frustration Hits Boiling Point

Courtesy of Speed.com

It’s been simmering since it started, but Valentino Rossi finally boiled over at Qatar. The King of MotoGP unloaded on Ducati to the Italian press after the race, causing the expected result in Italy and beyond.

Rossi famously joined the Italian brand last year. The dismal season that followed was chalked up to the nature of the carbon fiber Ducati chassis that Rossi, teammate Nicky Hayden, and everyone else that had ridden it not named Casey Stoner could ever really figure out. None of the million different updates delivered to that bike really helped.

Rossi’s preseason testing and first race on a conventionally-framed Ducati haven’t been much better, if any. This year, Rossi was further back on the new bike at Qatar than he was last season.

After Qatar, Rossi said the team hasn't built a bike like he suggested or wanted, putting the onus entirely on the engineering and management at Ducati Corse.

If this happens after the first race, what is it going to be like after another half-season or so of additional beatdowns? Last year, the losing got to Rossi but for the most part he responded without adding to Ducati’s PR nightmare. It was clear he wished he’d never joined Ducati but Rossi kept his comments contained to private admittances to those close to him.

Not anymore. Rossi’s declared, “Basta!” Enough.

Rossi has a large amount of personal charisma and credibility with MotoGP fans, so it’s like being called out by the Moto Pope.

This will be unbearable for Ducati unless things improve dramatically. Even though Nick Hayden looked to be much scrappier in his battles and said he saw potential in the new machine, the spotlight will always be on Rossi. The updates Ducati has in the pipeline can’t get here soon enough. And this time they better work.

Let’s go back to 2010 and an interview conducted with Rossi crew chief Jeremy Burgess by Henny Abrams of Sport Rider magazine. Burgess said this back then before Rossi had even ridden the Ducati: “What I said to Yamaha when I came here, I said, ‘I can’t fix your bike. But if you listen to Valentino Rossi, we’ll go forward. Ignore him at your peril.’ And it’s the same deal here at Ducati. They spent the money to get him. If you don’t want to listen to him, well, why did you spend the money?”

It’s 2012 and, thanks to the way Rossi’s framed it, we’re all now asking the same question.

Greatness and ego go hand in hand, and there is a lot of previous success here to build the egos. Rossi has nine world championships. Ducati built their MotoGP program from nothing to the 2007 World Championship in a short amount of time. Obviously, everyone involved feels they can come up with the answers.

Rossi isn’t content to shrug off losing and now he’s telling his legion of fans that the problem isn’t him.

It’s never that simple, sure. Rossi’s older, has had some injuries, and lost close friend Marco Simoncelli last year. He’s also been behind Hayden lately, who has taken a more workman-like approach.

The flip side? Rossi is not at a point where he’ll hang it all out to get fifth or sixth. Why does it matter, he asks. He came to Ducati to win and he says the bike isn’t capable right now. So it all goes back to the folks in charge at Corse.

It is clear some mistakes have been made along the way.

As Rossi was coming to Ducati, they shut down the World Superbike group and ramped up a dual development engine program with “Screamer” and “Big Bang” options. Perhaps they should have commenced a dual chassis development program instead, especially with the complaints about front-end feel going back to the Stoner days having been immediately reiterated by Rossi at his first test.

There is a ton of technology in MotoGP. That’s one of the things that makes it cool. But MotoGP is still a rider driven sport and the man at the controls has to be comfortable to push at the very high level to compete.

If the rider ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Rossi's Frustration Hits Boiling Point
 
Rossi's Frustration Hits Boiling Point
It’s been simmering since it started, but Valentino Rossi finally boiled over at Qatar. The King of MotoGP unloaded on Ducati to the Italian press after the race, causing the expected result in Italy and beyond.
Read More
Related Media
Juncos Racing
 
Juncos Racing Announces Entry for 101st Running Indy 500
Juncos, the founder and team principal of Juncos Racing – the highly successful operation in the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires developmental ladder – said his team will take the next step to the Verizon IndyCar Series on its biggest stage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. While driver and manufacturer announcements await, the news signals a “dream come true” for the immigrant from Argentina.
Read More
Al Unser
 
Al Unser to Return to Racing for Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser revealed he plans to return to wheel-to-wheel competition at the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s (SVRA) “Indy Legends” Charity Pro-Am at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 17 – appropriately enough, Father’s Day Weekend. The three-time Indy car national champion will join his son, two-time Indy 500 champion Al Unser Jr., in the race to mark the first time since 1993 that they have competed together at the Speedway. Unser’s surprising return to competition comes at the 25th anniversary of the best finish by a father and son in “500” history when in 1992 Al Jr. won in what remains the race’s closest finish while dad Al brought his Menards entry home third.
Read More
Willy T. Ribbs
 
Ribbs Enjoying Quiet Life After Barrier Breaking Career in Racing
A determined Ribbs made a name for himself in various forms of racing, most notably in 1991 as the first black driver in the Indianapolis 500. As part of Black History Month, Ribbs is remembered for breaking that color barrier with two starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Hulman Terrace Club
 
On-Sale Now, Hulman Terrace Club Offers Premium Seating for IMS Events
The Hulman Terrace Club, located on the outside of the front straightaway of the famed 2.5-mile oval, features some of the best views of the track plus ADA-accessible seating for fans seeking a club option. All tickets to the Hulman Terrace Club were sold in its inaugural season in 2016. Space is limited, so fans interested in tickets should act now.
Read More
Indianapolis Golf Putter
 
PGA Pro Rodgers Ties Family's Indy Legacy to Golf with Putter
Before striking his first golf club at 6 years old and forging a path to the PGA Tour, Patrick Rodgers became enamored with racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,427
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Next stop - @IRE2seater! Happy 95 days until the 101st Running of the #Indy500! #101bottles https://t.co/I1njwCbOXf
about 13 hours ago