Rossi Laps Brno Under Race Record, But No Announcement Yet - Updated

Valentino Rossi's second test after returning from injury has been completed, and judging by the times, Rossi is fit and ready to race. According to times posted by Rossi's team manager Davide Brivio on Twitter, the Italian lapped Brno in a time under the race lap record set by Cal Crutchlow a day previously, on exactly the same bike. Rossi's lap time was 1'59.135, while Crutchlow's race lap record is 1'59.291.

More encouraging for Rossi were the reports from Brivio that the Italian was suffering a lot less pain. Discussions while Rossi was in the pits were about the bike and set up, rather than about pain in his shoulder and leg, suggesting that Rossi's fitness has improved significantly even from the middle of last week.

No announcement has been made yet - the expected press conference did not materialize - but it seems almost certain that Rossi will decide to attempt to race at the Sachsenring in Germany next weekend. At the very least, the Italian could enter the weekend, test his Fiat Yamaha M1 during free practice on Friday and Saturday, and then decide whether to actually race after Saturday morning. If Rossi withdraws before that time, Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa could still take Rossi's place on the grid on Sunday, if he can post a qualifying time on Saturday afternoon. Given the shortness of the Sachsenring track, getting within 107% should not be a problem for the Japanese rider.

An appearance at the Sachsenring would also provide Rossi a better platform for any announcement on his future. Press attendance at a test on the Monday after a race is always fairly meager, and a press conference during a race weekend - in the full glare of the world's media, already enthralled by Rossi's early return to racing - is much more Valentino Rossi's style. 

Rossi now returns home to Italy, to consult with his doctors and with the team about whether to race in Germany. That decision will be announced either tonight, or perhaps on Tuesday after X rays and further examinations to test Rossi's health. According to, Rossi pronounced himself very happy with the the way the test went. "I am in much better shape than last week," Rossi said. "After a number of laps I had problems with my shoulder and my knee. I want to race at the Sachsenring, but I have to wait for an X-ray. If the tibia has healed sufficiently, I could go." 

The chances of the Italian actually being in Germany appear to have grown immensely after this Monday's test. Whether he will race or not is probably irrelevant, ticket sales - and more importantly for Dorna, TV ratings - will be up no matter what.

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far from the most important matters at stake here, but I'd love to know how did he like the feel of a WSBK. Who knows if he liked it enough to consider giving it a try in some 3 or 4 years?

As for Sachsenring, come back. He'll get an ovation and all the press possible by just completing the race. "A heroic return", I can already picture the headlines. Imagine how that would upset Lorenzo, who seems to love the spotlights more than anything else. It just happens that he needs to win to get under it.

In the video from, Rossi says he really enjoyed riding the superbike. When Rossi decides to move on from GP, he'll have plenty of options--WSBK definitely one of them.

He also mentioned in the video that he had pain after 6-7 laps so it would be difficult to go the full race distance. I'll be surprised if he races in Germany... but then again... I won't be at all. He's the GOAT for good reason.

Well, we know to never say never with Rossi about anything... I mean look at him testing at speeds that are WSBK competitive a month after this fracture. Impressive. But as for him going to WSBK after GP? I don't see it. He doesn't need money, and WSBK is, despite being a greatly talented field, does not contain the absolute greatest riders in the world... GP does.

When Rossi leaves GP, bikes will be behind him. Most likely to rally car into his golden years. In any event I look forward to watching him ride in GP for several more seasons to crack Ago's 122 (or 123 if you ask Ago) GP wins.

This was copied from Davide Brivio's tweet:

Vale finished a good testing in Brno with SBK. 46 laps/best lap time in 1.59.135. Feels tired at the end but shoulder and leg coming better

I say: Good work Vale.

I am a little disappointed that there was no press conference, but it would be wiser to make a big announcment this coming weekend.

I'm happy The Doctor is coming along fine but i'd still prefer he waited until Brno to return to racing, thus giving himself that extra month to heal and get his strenght back. Jlo is gonna be unhappy with all the media attention now switched from him but who cares.
Eagerly awaiting announcement of The Doctor to the red missile, may he go with speed.

Rossi toying with superbikes does seem to be a message to the GPCommission and especially DORNA that less electronics and no fuel limits would be desirable for the MGP 1000s if he is to extend his stay in the championship.

When and if Rossi wins his tenth championship on a Ducati I think he will consider a lot of his work done. Namely beating Lorenzo, Stoner el al. again on a different bike. He isn't going to stay around beating off pesky kids forever. He can then move on to chase Ago's 122/3 victory record, and what better place for that than a championship with less competition and two potential race wins on a single day.

Also, his involvement in the championship would push the InFront to make the rules more competitve again for twins so, hypothtically, he would arrive on a competitive Ducati...

Fresh challenges, variety, fun in racing and more opportunities to increase his legend as the GOAT...

I have sincerely difficult time believing that Rossi would defect to WSBK. I would find it more likely that his tire choice was made for comparison. Doesn't it seem that this would be the only way to erase any doubt about his physical ability to ride?

Wouldn't Rossi be missing out on Ago's record by leaving as well? I am under the impression that Ago's record is with Grand Prix victories.

My guess is the next generation of Ducati superbikes will be a 4-cylinder, wet clutch, with conventional swing arm.

Rossi would have to stay in GPs to beat Ago's record of wins, since they are on GP machinery. strength to those people that say that Rossi fans that stop watching races when he is injured are not real motorbike fans....

2nd time on the bike

1st time on Pirellis

broken leg 1 month ago & injured shoulder

Under race pace record !!!

Why should we like this dude ???? - I only crashed once & for at least 3 months i always thought twice about leaning or accelerating a litle bit harder. - And i never saw my foot pointing the wrong way!!

I glad to see him back, motogp needs the yellow

what I got from this is that Crutchlow and JT might consider resigning their seat. How many countless laps have they had on the juiced R1 and Rossi comes in, and in @3 days tops the regular R1 pilots??? Was it even Cal's mechanics? Goat or not,, Rossi's body is broken..?? ,, that's embarrassing.. A fit Rossi,,,maybe OK. Time for open auditions,, there has to be someone else who will ride the R1 proper.

I don't know, Spies was on that bike last year, with much less development, and he won the title. I can't say that Toseland, a multi-time WSBK championship winner and MotoGP refugee, is doing it any justice. At least Crutchlow can say that he's new to the R1 from the R6.

Whether or not Yamaha needs new riders because they are less than stellar is largely different than needing to vacate because Valentino outpaced their times. The lap time that Valentino set is expected of him. I get the feeling that people would have been more shocked if he would have lapped under race pace.

As far as ratings not hurting or that the World Cup was taking place that's why MotoGP was being affected, i would like to see some numbers around the world, i tried looking with no success, very little was said about Spain and Italy, but there is more countries to analize.

All these suggestions that Rossi may be going to WSBK are umm... real funny.

After racing and beating the world's best on the fastest 2 wheeled machines for a decade do you really think he will step down to race on a lesser bike in a lesser series against lesser riders for WAY less monetary compensation?

He would be bored to tears - and the world would accuse him of cherry picking - or bass fishing with dynamite. It ainta gonna happen ya'll.

Everything is laughable at this point b/c Rossi has no good options. He's said on several occasions that he wants to stay at Yamaha without Lorenzo. Not an option so now he's forced to chose from a list of things people never thought he would do.

If Rossi went to WSBK it would NOT be for way less money. IMS would certainly pay him handsomely, and as wosideg says, they might even provide him with some kind of equity arrangement. If just a few pieces sway in WSBK's favor, it would be crippling for GP. A deal to move Rossi and Hayden to WSBK would be a big blow to GP. If Spies followed and then Suzuki bolted instead of building a new bike, it would be the end of GP as we know it.

GP is wedged in an impossible situation. If Ezpeleta throws out the MSMA, he runs the risk of collapsing the sport. If he doesn't throw out the MSMA, he runs the risk of collapsing the sport. Rossi knows it. He doesn't want to leave, but he cannot pander to a group of people who have no cards to play. Rossi is Dorna's ace. If he goes to a competing series, it's over. Dorna can shut off the lights and close the door behind them when they leave. Advertisers will follow him. Older riders who are already slated to go to WSBK will follow him. Some manufacturers might even follow him b/c WSBK is already safe from outside entrants b/c of the homologation quantity rules.

It's uglier than people realize, imo.

I'm not convinced that any team, organization, or sponsor in WSBK could outbid Marlboro's GP outfit. Someone would have to offer some very compelling proof to disuade me of that. I'm even less convinced that a move to Ducati is not a "good option".

Valentino transfering from GP to WSBK is not laughable; it's insane.

I have no comments about Vale going to WSBK as soon as next year, but what I do believe is that, a successful sportsman will not sit around in a series that is not doing what is needed to succeed, with a looming future.

WSBK is no easy feat....recent MotoGP refugee who are successful, only a handful come to mind like Corser, Haga, Bayliss, Biaggi, Checa. More MotoGP refugee are unsuccessful, hinting the fact that it's no guarantee that success will be handed on a silver plate to any ex-MotoGP rider. Though many factors (factory involvement) need to come to play for a great career in WSBK as much as in MotoGP, this seems to echo much of Vale's sentiments about rider over motorcycles, rather electronics over motorcycles.

However, without the technology in MotoGP, we will never see the cross plane R1 in WSBK, this is where I had issues with myself, ha ha.

If Rossi was younger, he definately has the ability to race WSBK for awhile and switch back to MotoGP when they are done with the 800cc nonsense.

Consider this.

Rossi switches to WSBK in anger for big money, and then Dorna actually win their battle with the MSMA. The MSMA relent under threat of withdrawal from Ducati and Suzuki and allow 81mm (or rev limited) 1000cc prototype engines with 24L of fuel.

If that happened, it would be game over for Rossi (assuming he had an extended contract in WSBK). The 990 era would be reborn as 81mm 1000s. The fans and manufacturers would return to GP, and the romanticism of man vs. machine would be reborn.

Rossi would be stuck in WSBK. He won't switch until he knows the new GP formula, but that won't stop him from posturing to spook Dorna who have perhaps not applied ample pressure to the MSMA.

One day, in the next two or three years, Valentino Rossi will have had enough of MotoGP. He will have equaled at least one of Giacomo Agostini's records, and will be looking around for something else to do. He will be too old to go to F1, and F1 isn't challenging enough to hold his interest. At that point, he will switch to World Superbikes, to be the first rider to clinch the two world championships. Because, as he told Paolo Scalera, "bikes are for racing, cars are for fun."

So it's not like our good friend Phoenix1 likes to tell it (there is a kernel of truth in his paranoid ramblings, though he takes excellent points and pushes them to the extreme), but Rossi will one day ride in WSBK. And he'll never race in F1. 

We are not discussing an ordinary person or an ordinary set of circumstances.

A rational person would not be angry about making 9m euros on the best MotoGP team in the paddock, but Rossi is. A rational person would not ride a WSBK at circuit record pace with a broken tibia, but Rossi does. A rational person would not leave HRC for Yamaha, but Rossi did.

This site wouldn't exist if you had just acted like a sane person :-P

If these tests are simply the work of a bored GP legend who is in desperate need of some attention and an adrenaline fix, well then I'm wrong. But if there is something more to these tests than meets the eye, it would be unreasonable to assume that Rossi would act in a rational, predictable manner.

Imo, Rossi is angry about the goings-on at Yamaha. If Rossi is genuinely angry at the way GP is shaping up for him right now, history suggests he will do something a little bit crazy.

Time will tell...

Since I have no desire to cut myself too hefty a slice of crow to eat later, i'll leave the discussion just before the impasse of rumor and speculation. Cheers to you and you're wild theory, Phoenix. For the sake of MotoGP, I hope you're wrong.

Perhaps my replies did not press enough of the present tense. Valentino switching now, under these circumstances seems all too unlikely.

Though I must say it is not for a lack of desire to see Rossi scrapping it with the likes of Noriyuki Haga, Troy Corser, Max Biagi, or especially any of the young bucks. It's the skeptic in me. I suppose I would have to see it to believe it.

... is going to be Nicky's or Ben's before it's Rossi's I'm afraid Dave. I really don't see Rossi "demoting" himself for WSBK. If he is still viable in GP whenever such a theoretical move would happen, why would he move to a 'lessor' field on a lessor machine? To prove what? That he can trounce riders WAY beneath his skill level? Or worse, so that he can weaken MotoGP as a sport by not only retiring, but jumping ship to another series and shifting his fan base away from GP and to WSBK?

Again, I don't think it's wise to say never with Rossi, but I really don't see it as likely that he'll ever competitively ride in WSBK... when Ago's record is broken conclusively (with 124+ wins to clear any confusion) he'll enjoy his retirement messing with Rally cars or owning his own GP team or something before he'd ride WSBK.

/2 cents with plenty-o-change

We have several threads about Rossi's superbike test. And in each of those threads, people have mentioned two things that I find interesting.

  1. Rossi's fans
  2. World Cup television coverage

While these items have come up independently in conversation, I see an interesting relationship.

In football, people want the beautiful game. They want total football (comiserations, David). Similarly in MotoGP, people want to see the beautiful ride. Just like football fans, moto fans want to see attacking with flare and panache and daring. People want to see creative use of space on the track as much as on the football pitch.

That's why riders like Rossi, Elias, McCoy (in the old days), etc are fun to watch. That's why they get the fans and the television ratings.

And that's why I think Rossi's fans are right. When it comes to football, people want the beautiful game. And when it comes to motorcycle racing, people want the beautiful ride.

A month ago, I said I was pretty darn certain that Rossi's being out for a few races...could very well prove to be his BIGGEST source of bargaining power with Yamaha/the powers that be...

I won't quote myself verbatim, but I said that when Yamaha and Moto GP see a big drop in attendance and TV audience...they'll know why, and Rossi will have plenty of leverage as a result of it.

I'm glad to see that EVEN I am capable of getting a prediction right...every few years or so... (Hey, it's bound to happen ONCE in a lifetime...) :)

Oh, and I also want to say that I am 1) cautiously optimistic, and I'm 2) HORRIFIED about Rossi not taking more time to recover. I would rather he wait to ride again...until next year, if necessary. I just don't want him to injure himself further. I really don't. It's one thing to have an awful injury, but quite another to push your comeback too quickly. I still think it was ill-advised for Doohan when he did so all those years ago, and I don't want to see THE GOAT go and do the same thing, possibly ruining his own career.

I've got my hands over my eyes, and I'm watching through my fingers...

While the loss of Rossi's personality certainly impacted viewership numbers, I would suggest that the lack of a title fight in the early season might also be a significant part of the drop. If it weren't for Hayden's resurgence, Spies mounting assault and RdP smacking the factory riders around, I would be pretty bored.

--------------------------------------------- - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Is this correct? Rossi would have to ride another bike for his test as there would be no allowance for him to test on the GP bike until official testing took place? It also makes sense that he rode the WSBK yammie because they can't afford to use time on the GP bike engine/s and the SBK is as close as they can get to the real thing. Maybe also if he isn't fit to ride there's a high risk of crashing so the low risk option is to put him on the SBK and see how he goes. I doubt this has anything to do with him going to SBK. It's more out of necessity / convenience but it does make for a good story and a lot of speculation :-)

Not in any way disrespecting Rossi's times - bloody impressive - but do we know whether he was running WSBK Pirellis or motoGp Bridgestones? It's an 'enquiring mind' question - for him to get to seriously competitive times in his current condition and in the circumstances (almost unknown bike etc.) says a hell of a lot for his massive capabilities, but if he was on Bridgestones then heck, he's merely podium material after what - an hour or so on that bike rather than a lay-down mezzaire winner?.. Must be some deep muttering in the WSBK ranks, one would think, either way.

It's been widely reported all day that he was on WSBK-issue Pirellis.

I don't know which compound, though, for the fastest time.  Three runs of increasing length; he may have given them all a shot.

RB - thanks, I've been out of 'net contact for a couple of days and hadn't caught up with that when I wrote. The conclusion I make is that it's obviously easier for a motoGp pilot to adapt quickly to a WSBK bike than vice-versa - but also that to do it as well as Rossi did, simply underlines just why he is able to get such consistently excellent results almost every time he rides -he is, simply, that good. Which in turn means anybody who can stay with / near him also has no real question marks about their ability.

And as for the 'motoGp bike riders are fast because of the electronics' argument...

I just watched the video on the motgp site, he seemed pretty happy to me. I don't think WSBK is even on the backburner for him. I think it was Yamaha's way of saying, you want to ride, we'll get you a track and a WSBK bike to play with and you are still part of our family. They would not have offered it or would he likely accepted it if he were about to sign with Ducati.

I don't believe there is enough friction at Yamaha with #99 for him to even remotely think about leaving. The pay cut thing. that's just more rumors at the moment, I don't think he is going anywhere, pay cut or not. He makes lot's of money selling his apparel and thru personal sponsors.

This sort of thing just makes him more valuable to sponsors, he has turned a huge negative into a huge positive. Jorge may be twitter-ing, but everyone's eyes are on Rossi.

I hope your right! It would be so much more satisfying to watch Rossi duel with Lorenzo on the Yamaha's.
The contest would be solely based on riding and racing,skills and tactics! There would be no "its the bike" excuse to fall back on when one or the other is winning, just the out paced rider to blame(of course I'm sure there are other excuses that will be made regardless). Wow it really just hit me(I know some might comment that I'm slow, this could be true), MotoGP is getting unduly boring. I'm more focused on rumors and the next season than the competition itself..... HMMMMMM..... anyway I hope Rossi stays with Yamaha and the pay cut rumor is just a fallacious attempt to keep us interested in MotoGP(it's working if it is).

Would it blow everyone's mind, if after all the speculation of Rossi's move to Ducati (over Salary.. or... Lorenzo as a teammate...or Lorenzo's salary increase at Rossi's *perceived* expense)...This was ALL just a GIANT ruse/threat for Rossi to Leverage more money out of Yamaha (or it's sponsors) to up his salary to some unprecedented amount...and still stay at Yamaha, where he *said* he would like to be for some years to come.
I do believe that some negotiations could be going on with Ducati...but I also believe that Yahaha hasn't yet laid their last card on the table...and could counter-offer with enough $$'s and incentives to keep him.

Several times in this thread it has been mentioned or implied that the electronics in WSBK are somehow inferior to those on the MotoGP prototypes. Or less complicated. Or that somehow riding a superbike is more "analog" than riding a GP prototype.

Can anyone explain to me where this idea comes from?

Look at a superbike with its clothes off and you'll see the exact same tangle of wires and sensors hiding there that you would on a GP bike. In fact, look closely enough, and you'll even see the same brand name on the ECU! (What percentage of the WSBK and MotoGP fields are using Marvel 4?...) It's my understanding that the TC electronics in both series are pretty much identical. In fact, doesn't MotoGP now ban some of the sensors and electronics that WSBK still allows? Tire temperature sensors, for instance? Can superbikes have electro-hydraulic clutches? I know FB Corse had issues getting theirs into MotoGP. And isn't the BMW's TC system even more complex than a GP bike's in that it includes bank angle sensors?

Just look at the factory superbikes taken apart. Just like the one you bought at the shop down the street, right?... Well, except the different fork and shock, triple clamps, brakes, air intakes, carbon fiber airbox, relocated fuel cell, completely different electronics and instrument cluster, kit swingarm, frame reinforcements, forged wheels, and a ton of other stuff that's hard to see...

This is a heavier GP prototype without the pneumatics and with a smaller bore to stroke ratio. The rider is not more "involved" in one vs. the other.

WSBK doesn't have as sophisticated fuel computers. There are no fuel capacity limits in WSBK. If you need more fuel you enlarge the tank. MotoGP has very sophisticated fuel computers that control many aspects of the bike like throttle response and traction control.

GP bikes have lean angle sensors like the BMW system. GP bikes also have GPS traction control systems so the riders can actual dial up and dial down the amount of traction control they want. I don't know whether WSBK features GPS traction control.

Also, Honda are testing out a new torque-meter system on the front sprocket. It's a little black box that measures torque at the sprocket and then feeds that information into the electronics system. Much more sophisticated than WSBK.

WSBK electronics are impressive, but I'm pretty sure they is still a few steps down from GP.

...but WSBK has some components that are more advanced than MotoGP like that active and electronic suspension.

WSBK might not have the most sophisticated but in some areas they are more electronically controled than MotoGP bikes. geddyt's point is valid: WSBK is not more "analog" than MotoGP.

--------------------------------------------- - MotoGP Data & Statistics

WSBK does not have electronic suspension. Electronic suspension is explicitly prohibited in articles and which deal with front forks and rear shocks. Electronic steering dampers are explicitly banned in article unless equipped on the homologated bike (even then no modification is allowed).

Telemetry systems are explicitly banned in article and GPS is only permissible for timing and scoring purposes.

SBK is a lot more analog. I think tire temperature sensors might be about the only electronic parts that SBKs have and GPs don't.

WorldSBK's banning of electronically active suspension is a recent developement. In fact, the Yamaha WorldSBK team debuted the system [hellforleather] that eventually found its way onto Valentino Rossi's bike. Both series now ban this, but it was in WorldSBK first. Superbikes is no backwoods...

Your contention that the fuel computers are different is also a little odd. Although Suzuki MotoGP continues to insist on using Mitsubishi electronics, and Honda MotoGP continues to insist on doing things in-house, the rest of the field in BOTH series (excluding BMW's similar in-house effort) are ALL running Marvel 4 fuel computers. How is a Marvel 4 in WorldSBK different from a Marvel 4 in MotoGP?...

As far as electronic throttles and whatnot, you need to go down to your local dealer and poke around. Hell, you've been able to buy an R6 with torque-smoothing electronic throttle control for, what, four years? R1s, F4s, and RSV4 Factories all have dual stage or continuously variable intake runner tracts right off the showroom floor. I believe the Fireblade is the only showroom stock liter bike that DOESN'T have adjustable power delivery via fuel/ignition maps right on the handlebar. Hell, even half the 600s have it. And these are just stock bikes. And that countershaft sprocket torque sensor you mentioned that Honda has on its RC212V? Yeah, that's called the Ignition Interrupt Control System. Your bone stock CBR has had that on there since 2008...

Don't be fooled into thinking that just because superbikes don't have fuel limits there's not an interest in smoothing power and getting traction to the ground--they are making over 200hp, after all. These are very sophisticated machines that are in no way analog. Alright, so their lack of fuel limits means they can activate TC via ignition retard only, whereas MotoGP bikes cut fuel as well. The end result to the right wrist is exactly the same.

The ONLY valid difference between the two I can see (even down to the make and model of computer, remember) is the ability of the GP bikes to utilize GPS. And I can't see how this makes the bike any less "analog" as far as what the rider feels.

Never said SBK wasn't sophisticated, I said it's less sophisticated than GP. I referenced the rulebook.

Marvel 4 is hardware. Magneti Marelli provide some level of base operating system and software, but the race software is written by the engineers. The fuel requirements are very different in each series so it stands to reason that the fuel injection control in GP is far more complicated than what they use in WSBK. MotoGP also has no restrictions on fuel pressure anymore which means some of them are certainly using direct injection or will be using direct injection in the near future so the peripheral devices the ECU interfaces with are also different.

Honda allegedly switched to Magneti Marelli this season, that's why they hired away the Yamaha techs to write software.