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
Ed Carpenter
 
Pruett's Preview: Firestone 600, Continued
With the Verizon IndyCar Series and TMS left to halt the race after 72 laps (173 kilometers) and multiple delays due to bad weather, the ninth race on the 2016 tour will take the green flag after a 78-day hold. And with 177 laps (427km) left to complete, teams will receive two brief 10-minute warmup sessions before the field is placed into the positions each driver held on the last lap in June and sent into furious action at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Read More
Indy 500
 
101st Indianapolis 500, Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Highlighting 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series May Schedule
The series released its full 2017 schedule and it includes the iconic 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28 and the fourth annual Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 13.
Read More
Sky Lounge
 
Sky Lounge, Checkered Flag Club Offer Upscale Options for Red Bull Air Race Viewing
For the first time in more than a century, the racing action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be in the skies rather than on the pavement for the Red Bull Air Race.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Pruett's Preview: ABC Supply 500
Ryan Hunter-Reay didn’t want to celebrate his win at Pocono last year. And he wasn’t alone. Points and trophies were duly awarded after the checkered flag flew at the 2-mile superspeedway, but in light of the accident that would claim the life of his teammate Justin Wilson the following day, Pocono 2015 is more a reminder of what IndyCar lost than anything its finishers gained.
Read More
John Cooper
 
Remembering John Cooper
John Cooper, who died Wednesday at the age of 84, was a major player in the motorsports world, not just during his time from 1979-82 as the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was the kind of man who knew not only the big sponsor developments of the day, but why Joe Smith missed Saturday night’s feature at the local dirt track. Cooper was as much of a racing enthusiast as a mover-and-shaker.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,304
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
RT @NASCAR: CHECKERED FLAG: @KyleLarsonRacin WINS his first-ever Sprint Cup Series race! WOW. https://t.co/fdmqsdELo4
about 16 hours ago