The Ducati / Rossi / Mugello Test Official Press Release

The internet has been ablaze with news and rumors from Ducati's test at Mugello, where Valentino Rossi, along with test rider Franco Battaini, tested the new chassis for the Ducati GP12. Times were not issued, though the Italian sports broadcaster Sportmediaset is reporting that Rossi posted a 1'48.05, albeit without knowing which chassis was used to set that time. In comparison, Casey Stoner set a 1'47.326 on Honda's RC212V during the test in July, while Rossi set a 1'49.301 on the GP11.1 during the race.

After the event, they issued the following press release, which is a very tame affair compared to the rumors, though still leaving plenty to the imagination. Make of it what you will:


For the final day of a three-day test at Mugello, Valentino Rossi joined the Ducati Test Team to work on developing the 2012 race bike. In doing so, he utilized the sixth of eight days during which factory riders may participate in such outings. The Italian turned a total of 82 laps in conditions that were sunny but not overly hot.

Rossi had a fall on the exit of the Scarperia-Palagio section during the third lap of his first outing in the morning, but it didn't affect the team's work, which continued until 6:30 p.m.

Filippo Preziosi and Vittoriano Guareschi were in the garage to follow the test, and official test rider Franco Battaini, who had ridden the two previous days, was with Rossi on the track.

"It was an interesting day, although it was also quite long, because we rode until 6:30," Rossi said after the test. "Developing a bike requires a lot of focus and effort, but it's also very exciting and fulfilling to be part of a group of people pushing as hard as it can in the same direction. Today we confirmed various aspects of the GP12's electronics and chassis, collecting a lot of useful information for Filippo and the guys in the factory. I think that the work is well underway as we prepare for our next steps."


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Just .7 sec off of Stoner's time with one day of testing is very exciting if the reported time is true. If it were over a race weekend with more time for setup and "rabbit extracting" the 12.1 could be near the pointy end next year. The candor in Vale's voice seems to suggest that things went quite well.

The unofficial time reported is sometimes 1'48.05 and sometimes 1'48.5, including on sportmediaset own website...

All in all, if either of this is a reliable laptime, Rossi would be clearly faster than on the GP11.1 (hopefully!) but still slower than Stoner's pole on the 800 and 0"7 or 1"2 slower than Stoner's time on the 3rd and 4th day of testing on the Honda RC213V.

Certainly going in the right direction but still a long way from competitive times for 2012, the Honda and Yamaha are also in early development stage so they will keep improving.

Any idea of the times Rossi achieved testing the GP12 previously at Mugello?

Is there any reliable source for the "FTR aluminum frame" or is it an info coming from the italian media and universally spread around the web?

Like Povol said a couple comments below the 1´47.3 was on the RCV212 not 213, but with the Bridgestones for next year. So I would only say this GP12 was as fast as the RCV212 but if it did have an extremely different chassis it could get quite better with some more testing and setting up and also people are expecting the 2012 tires to ease off the problems for Ducati. So maybe next year Ducati will be close to the front but there seems to be to many "ifs" to get any hopes up.

You're right, Stoner set his 1'47.3 on the RC212V. So with 1'48.05 or 1'48.5 Rossi would be 0"7 or 1"2 slower on the GP12.1 than Stoner's RC212V (on identical 2012 tires)...that's worse!

He would also be slower than Stoner's pole on the RC212V and 2011 tires (1'48.03), and maybe 4 tenths ahead or 1 tenth behind Lorenzo's fastest lap in the race (1'48.4).

Definitely better than the GP11.1 (Rossi's fastest lap of the GP weekend on the GP11.1 was 1'49.3, that would be a gain of 0"8 to 1"3) but still not enough to compete with the top 800cc MotoGP bikes.

Stoner gained 7 tenths just by switching the 2011 tires for the 2012 tires on the 800 so a comparable gain from the GP11.1 to the GP12.1 is not really impressive, that's more like the bare minimum.

That would be interesting to compare with Rossi's times on the previous incarnation of the GP12, when he rode it at earlier and also at this one, but they were not made public...

Well I was actually wondering about the tires they used. The previous Mugello test was an official one that was suppose to have all factories, I think that`s why Bridegestone brought the 2012 tires but I´m not sure and I was trying to find out what tires they used for the GP12.1 but couldn´t find it anywhere. Are you sure they used the 2012 tires today? If you are, then you are right it was a really bad test.

I haven't seen any confirmation on that but running the GP12.1 with 2011 tires would not make any sense, would it?
When you're developing your bike for 2012, you wanna know if it's gonna work with the tires you're actually gonna use in 2012, not with the tires used in the current year that will be discarded comes 2012.
So I am assuming that whenever a GP12 (or any 2012 prototype for that matter) is tested, it's with 2012 Bridgestones.

Hypothetically they might do very limited runs with 2011 tires for the sake of comparison (which would not really be relevant anyway) but obviously they have to clock the miles on the new tires, not the current ones.
If you would like to compare the 2011 vs the 2012 tires you would do it on the 800, a bike that you know well to understand how different the new tires behave, not with the 1000 in early development stage.

Yes but the decision of wich tires to use is probably not up to them but up to Bridgestone I`m certain they (Bridgestone) want to oversee every thing that is done with the tires they are still developing or have only recently finish developing. After the last test there was a press release from Bridgestone about their new tires, this time there wasn´t. If I had to guess I´d say they used 2011 tires but ofcourse guessing ain´t knowing.

If Ducatis first educated guess at a new frame layout is within a second of Stoners honda time, that's nothing short of amazing, the honda and yam haven't shown anywhere near that kind of pace at the other tracks only just heading their 800 pace at both Brno and mugello and wit the new engine almost shoe horning into the old (very competent)chassis they are literally years ahead of ducati. Having said that have learnt nothing about the bike so sincerely hope we can get an idea of what it is sooner rather than later. I can't imagine the yam and honda changing their product based on what ducati bring so come on ducati level with us... We want to know if you have seen the light.. Oh yes, are they using the gp11 bodywork, a couple of pictures don't half make it look ungainly as the current one does..

In the shot of Battiani riding what appears to have a curved black frame, close inspection shows that is only the infill bodywork between the fairing and the seat that isn't painted as on the race bikes and every mounting point, access hole etc. is identical to the race bike. The swing arm is also that currently used on the GP 11.1.

A twin-spar frame is going to necessitate a different air intake path and very likely differences to the radiator positions and cooling air paths so just being able to bolt-on the same bodywork is fairly unlikely. All of which is not to say that they didn't test a twin-spar variant, but the released images do nothing to support the idea that they did.

I thought Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, all pulled out of testing the 1000's at Mugello in July. Stoners time of 1.47.326 was on the RC212v

You are right, that 1´47.3 was done with an 800. But it was done on the bridgestone front tire for next year and it was .7 seconds quicker that Casey´s time on QP so I don´t know how informative it really is.

Over at the spanish sites they seem certain that the bike had a aluminum chassis, every article over at says it did (I don´t know if there is any point in my putting the links since the page is in spanish).
Also according to Rossi has said that the problem was the weight of the front cylinder that is to close to the front tire (interesting since I thought the problem was not being capable of putting the engine closer to the front).
Here are the links just in case:

I guess it depends. The Ducati's 148.05, or 148.50 puts them either .7, or 1.2 seconds behind the RC212v. By all indications, the 213v is considerably quicker than the 212v. At Brno, Casey was 0.7 faster on the 213V than he was in qualifying on the 212v. That puts Ducati either 1.4 or 1.9 seconds behind the Honda. The new tire may be worth .03 which leaves Ducati still sitting on that 1.1 to 1.6 deficit they have been facing all year. Then again, those times from today could be way off in either direction, buts its fun to speculate. I talked with Suppo at a little q&asession at Indy, and he was very excited about the new bike. He said they hit their target time after 3 laps in the first test, said the bike was fast from the second it hit the track and had much more to give. The Yamaha's are just a 10th or so away from the Honda's. Ducati has some work to do, and only a few more test to do it.

different days, different track conditions, different tyres (probably)
You cant read too much into rossi's reported times compared to stoners from the last test, suffice to say that they've havnt magically found 2 seconds overnight, more like a slight improvement over the last version.

If the Ducati test bike is using a new frame and doing a respectable time then it certainly raises the hope for the CRT bikes provided they can secure a decent rider.

Now I can't offer an engineering argument against Ducati making an twinspar chassis so I will make a philosophical argument.
The Mona Lisa when you break it down is just canvas & paint.
It is the combination which makes it a masterpiece.
Putting your faith in a new chassis only will not produce the solution.
The Honda is not the fastest bike in a straight line because it has the most powerfull engine. It is the way it uses & transmits the power to the road that makes it the fastest.
The Yamaha is not the best handling bike because it has the best chassis.
"The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" Aristotle said.
Ducati should put him on retainer.

The Mona Lisa cannot be evaluated with a stop-watch. Race bikes are. Which is not to say that the fastest bike makes for the best brand to own or look at or to ride on the street (or no one would buy Harleys).

In nature, the phenomenon of convergent evolution is well known: organisms that must compete in the same conditions evolve to resemble each other, even though they are descended from very different species. There is usually only one solution that is best, when measured by an objective criterion like survival... or laptimes.

What about natural selection and genetic variation? The CF chassis is a variation at the very begining of its development. Who's to say where it could end up? In a few years time it could be the aluminium perimeter frames that become the dinosaurs. It would be a real shame if Ducati pulled the plug on the CF monocoque chassis in its infancy.

Thanks Graham, well played sir, a well thought out response too my idea.
If I may, The pack may well evolve to resemble each other but nature demands that a new breed comes along & supplants the status quo to improve the species.
Ducati believe (or did) that the CF Monocoque is the new breed. Maybe we (and they) are not ready for it yet. But it should not stop them from trying.
And don't get me started on those noisy, faux vintage sh!tboxes.

Nature doesn't always find the best solution... look at all us bipeds stuck with a spine that was optimised for quadrupeds :( So absolutely, yes, if Ducati can make the clever leap ahead they will have an advantage. They did this by using Desmodromics and getting a jump on the 800's... and it turned out that maybe desmo and pneumatic are both good solutions there.
I actually believe CF is the way ahead (given bicycles, cars, canoes, aircraft) and that prior failures (ie Cagiva) were a result of not having full mastery of the material (or understanding what they were trying to achieve with it). Conversely, that the engine as frame concept is not.... Eventually, we will find out :)
The other parallels from genetics are that:

a) almost all change is actually random drift, rather than selection;
b) Almost all variants that appear disappear again without trace, even if they are equally "fit";
c) Nature doesn't demand anything, stuff just happens :)

It has to be said that the testing restrictions make it harder for revolutionary changes to take hold.

Your final sentence being very pertinent.

If Rossi has brought anything to Ducati Corse this year it is a more critical sense of introspection with the corresponding improvement of employee extrospection. Guareschi & Battaini were both very good racers, one would assume they are also very good communicators (why would they be doing the job they are?), yet I sort of get the impression there may have been a bit of the old 'yes boss' scenario in the past. Without knowing the corporate culture at Ducati (although I suspect Preziosi is Steve Jobs revered) I'm going to presume the feedback received from the test riders will have a more cutting critique element to it than in previous years, least not for the following reason. The factory now has a tonne a data from both test riders (together with the knowledge base these guys build up themselves testing variations) together with that of two of the worlds best racers plus Hayden in the white hot cauldron of competition, not to mention the four other satellite riders. Corse know the issues they face, one would hope most of the feedback data from all concerned is consistent, lets hope the design engineers can interpret that into tangible nuts and bolts improvement.

As a long time racer of Bologna Bullets it does pain me to see them struggle. But as a factory they are fighting a good fight and I really hope Preziosi stays the course with his still relatively embryonic designs. This might be the biggest trough in Ducati's brief modern G.P history but such is the nature of the sport. HRC has spent plenty of the last 40 G.P years in the doldrums.

Ducati Corse are not going to beat HRC at their own game. They need to catch the opposition with their pants down again. It might be Rossi's only hope of staying with the young guns.

Can't say I agree with you GrahamB29. Look at F1 cars for example, the design of the top cars in distinctly different in a number of ways, yet the end result is very close. It is not possible to say that there is only one optimum solution: there is simply no way to prove it. It would require the trial of an infinite number of variations, which simply isn't possible even in the evolution of species (although it seems Ducati are trying). Also one factor which always varies is the individuality of the rider. We are seeing with Ducati what a difference a rider can make. And the perfect machine for Pedrosa is certainly not the perfect machine for Simoncelli. I don't think I will be interested in watching motor racing with identical machines and identical robot pilots.

I dunno if times would really be relevant to them at this point as they would need some track time to develop the bike and learn how to make it work.

My guess is they would only be interested in subjective stuff, with the main subject being "feel" . They'd be asking Rossi if it's better, how it felt, is it the way to go etc.

If he reckons it's the right direction then they would get serious about development and times.

can you guys over here (at motomatters) stop leg humping rossi for for 5 minutes and post something on the retirement of james toseland (like most other motorcycle media outlets are doing)? i know he's not god like rossi, but he is a multiple world champion (granted, WSBK)


I also can't understand why we aren't all discussing JT on a story about Ducati testing.


if there was an overall site area to post something, i would have, but since there isn't, i figured i'd post something on one of the 50 posts about rossi.

Oh, the smarmy come backs that I could type are many, but since this is motomatters, I'll just point out that JT's withdrawal from racing is not as interesting to me as the people who are still in racing.

yeah, one who just retired and one who's on his way down, yeah...

and oh yeah, this is a racing website, not a rossi website, how about posting something other than news about him? you can still post all you want on him, but then there would also be other topics, crazy huh?!

you haven't spent much time on this website.
I encourage you to read a few articles to revise your opinion but if you've already made up your mind, farewell et bon vent!

We are known to mount the leg of Dovi but not "Super" Sic.

Herve's leg is always enticing, but not so much for Alberto's (except for me).

But it's best not to limit the dry humping to just riders. Commentators are contenders for our beastly instincts, too. Moody + Ryder need to change their Dockers far more often than Parrish 'n Cox. But sometimes it's recipiracal, and MotoMatter's leg gets dry humped right back.

Be honest: if you can only write one/two quality stories a day and Toseland decides to retire on the same day that Rossi first tests the 'radical' new Ducati chassis which one do you write about?

If Ducati/Rossi can't get that bike sorted for 2012 then MotoGP as a series is in serious trouble, the grid will be ten Hondas and Yamahas plus a few Ducs messing with whatever CRT entries they can scrape up. JT retiring is sad but its not even the biggest retirement this month.

You seem to want this site to be something other than itself.

Your leg humping comment was pretty funny, but the main editor is on a well-deserved vacation so you will have to have a little patience.
But so you don't have to wait: JT retires effectively immediately, because his right wrist is very likely never going to recover completely.

Judging by the shots I've seen,the bikes profile looks more racy or pointy to be specific. Viewing the Mona Lisa from an oblique angle is as good as viewing Franco at 30 degree lean fom a 100 meters back.
As Nostradamus pointed out, its all speculation at this stage.
The GP10 and GP11...whatever,have thus far looked very much like 1970's cafe races in slab sided profile. The shots I've seen of this GP12 incarnation look far more 'head down and bum up',much like the trellis of 2007 through 2009.
This is no trellis framed bike,but has apparently taken on a revision which allows the front to be shortened. A longer swingarm,higher rear,rider placed further back,but with more mass transfered to the front. Less rake and trail. Quicker steering. Valentino has realised V is less than 90 and 90 = L. Perhaps a rearward tilt of a few degrees has lifted the centre of gravity and given some precious clearance from the front bank of cylinder head,enabling them to steepen the rake. So where does the airbox subframe capacity go ? Down into wasted vertical space on either side of the bike behind the radiators,thereby enabling them to keep the front low even if the the front bank is raised somewhat.
All speculation and talking 10 to 20 mm here and there.
Stoner turned his GP10 results around at Aragon last year by basically revising his rider position. Perhaps Ducati are drawing on that by revising the bike in a way that accomodates the rider position with the same effect.
The times,well,yet again,different days,different everything.
When Ducati/HRC and Yamaha all test their projected 2012 kit on the same day, we may have a yardstick.

is discussed ad naseum because they (Ducati) have had problems all year and he has the most wins in the premier class in over 60 years of running the series. If Lorenzo, Stoner, Pedrosa, Simoncelli, Marquez, Bradly, etc, etc, get as many wins as Rossi and run into issues it will be discussed ad nauseum.

Beg to differ ! Ducati has won GP races with various riders since their first entrance. 2011 thus far heralds their first failure to win a race in any one season,2004 excluded I think,when they radically revised the 990 with a rush of adrenalin backwards,based on 2003 success.
Given the financial backing they enjoy now and huge success seasons past,riders have to be brought into question. Marketing considerations are a business issue no doubt. Therein they have the right rider lineup. GP success ?Dubious, future hence. Time will tell.

The goal of a factory team is to win championshipS (plural) not races.
If you have a rider that only rarely manages to get on the podium because of the inconsistency of his laps it`s logical to think his the problem. But if you have two former world champions struggling to finish 6th and qualify less than a second from the top you would have be quite stubborn to say they are the problem or even to say they are the main problem. If you have a bike that one world champion can put one the pole and another can´t get in the second row you are making a bike that depends completely on the rider (performance wise), you are designing a bike for an extremely specific type of rider and to make it worse (in this case) an extremely rare type of rider, That to me is being a really bad designer (racing-wise).
This year is a good example of why. If the problem is the riders (as you say) then get different riders ¿right? but as it happens the only rider capable on wining with that bike doesn´t want to. And something very common for riders to do is change teams, retire or get hurt, so a good designer makes a bike for the type of rider that is easy to find not for the blue-moon rider who´s departure leaves the team in ruins.

Outside of Capirossi with one in 2007, a good win by Spies, and one slightly flukey (albeit still deserved) one by Dovi, (so one each for the second tier riders of Ducati, Yamaha and Honda) there's been just four of them. That means there's been an awful lot of failures riding RCV's and M1's. A prototype MotoGP machine is supposed to be a difficult beast to get the best out of it - Rossi himself commented as such at the start of the year. And the GP16 is even more difficult than that. Over and above which I'm not sure that Rossi isn't going through a Poggiali crisis. He may never be back even if RCV mounted. Remember just how uncomfortable he was with Lorenzo next door.

Precisely, so if finding a rider capable of riding a MotoGP is extremely difficult, and the 800cc rules have make that task even harder then more so Ducati should seek out to design a bike that suits the majority of riders.
3 out of 4 riders have won on a Yamaha 800, 3 out of 4 have won on an Honda 800 but only 2 out of 5 rider have won on a Ducati 800 (I´m not sure all those numbers are correct) and 4 of them have had really hard seasons so the bike seems harder to ride than the other two making finding the right rider even harder and trully paramount for Ducati.
As for the Rossi part, there`s two world champions riding the bike at the moment and they are both having a terrible season so maybe it`s not all him.

A lot of people seem to be under some misapprehension that all of the field should at all of the time have some sort of shot at winning. This is World Championship motorcycle racing not handicapped club golf. There has been, there always will be an elite. The last few years we have been blessed (not by any 'God' - whatever that is - I may hasten to add) with four such riders. 2011 that number has been narrowed to three (yes not discounting the machine factor, but nonetheless a reality). In years gone by that number has been significantly less. The Ago years, the Doohan years.....

There is a key for the barrel lock conundrum that is the Ducati. Rossi and Burgess haven't found it. I'm not sure, given the flip flop thrashing and contradictions we've heard 2011, they ever will. His previously recorded ability to adapt is simply not apparent 2011. The later day 800's have progressed from Super 250's back to a hybrid bastards of 990's and 250's - Rossi hasn't adapted with that. There's every chance that dog has had his day.

Sure Rossi has been a titan of the sport, that doesn't mean he will always be that way until the day he retires (very, very few have walked away under such circumstances). If not the Poggiali syndrome, there's always the (and I hate drawing car analogies) Schumacher one.

As I have said repeatedly, fast is as fast does. Rossi has done it on two brands of motorcycle, and now (yes presumptuous I know) Stoner. Only one of them continues to do so, is younger and still peaking. Personally, race by race I'm being swayed more by the thought Rossi won't ever do it again in the face of the young guns - not on a GP16, not on a RCV......The reasons? Talent, hunger, age, too much of the good life, who knows, perhaps a little bit of all. And I really believed pre-season he would win races, not the title, on the Ducati. Sucked in as much as the next man I guess.

As Stoner has said himself there's every chance some other young pup will step up to the plate and march the game forward beyond the reach of himself and his contemporaries. More and more I feel this is what has happened to Rossi.

Even the most dominant figure there has ever been in any global reach sport - a man statistically roughly 40% greater than the next best - the incomparable Donald Bradman of Cricketing lore ended his days of century scoring with a final innings 'Duck' when only 1 meagre run would've given him a batting average of 100.00. Sport is cruel. Even the mighty eventual fail, especially if they hang on longer than conventional wisdom suggests.

I wasn´t trying to give any statistical significance, I was actually trying to set the focus away from the riders. The problem is that the guys at Ducati are not engineering professors conducting a theoretical exercise they are designer and design tends to have an specific objective.
If I ask you to design for me a blender an you give me a flux capacitor I`ll just go back in time and not hire you, regardless of what a genius you truly are. If the bike breaks the speed of sound ridden by Casey but is beaten by a Honda Cub on the hands of two former MotoGP champions there is something they are not doing right. How are they ever going to win a manufacturers championship if it`s almost impossible to get two rider doing well at the same time?
I don´t expect every one who get on the bike to have a shoot at winning but I do expect most former world champions who get on it to have some kind of shoot at the podium.
Casey himself has said that the bike is very hard to ride (having to ride it on the very edge 100% of the time). so how do you expect the bike to do well on a regular bases?
As for Rossi I would really prefer to talk about the bikes at this post, besides there is a big yellow 46 on each side of mi bike so all I will say is that you don´t get old in a single season.

EDIT: Actually BrickTop just wrote a comment on this post that pretty much summarizes what I think of 2011 Rossi (not so much a summary since is really long).

last year must have been a fluke for Rossi...The 10 podiums in what...14 races while ailing from 2 injuries....he's definitely lost the edge...

I don't care if everyone is equal in fact b/c a skill sport like MotoGP never lends itself to de facto equality. I do care that people are at least equal in theory, but unfortunately, MotoGP doesn't trouble itself with de jure equality. Inattentiveness to de jure equality allows the country-club regime within the GPC to tighten their grip on power.

I don't care if someone loses by 1min, but they shouldn't languish at the back on a motorcycle with intentionally engineered inferiority. The rookie rule shouldn't have cleared its first brainstorming session. I don't care if building GP bikes is difficult, but manufacturers shouldn't be required to maintain $100M in fixed assets and a $50M payroll. Given the current state of the economy, manufacturers shouldn't be required to lease production irrelevant technologies, like pneumatic valves, from patent companies who develop technology for F1.

How does this apply to Rossi? For the first time, Rossi's team cannot move heaven and earth to make him happy. For the first time, Dorna and Bridgepoint are more concerned with the manufacturers and the tires than they are with Valentino Rossi. The sport is suffering. The GPC should have seen the problem long before now, but they are always obsessing about where they are, not where they are going.

Agree on most of your points, however having the sport not obsessing over Valentino Rossi is a good thing.

Rule bending to accommodate the few aside, the sport needs to move on. Valentino will hang up his helmet sometime in the future and the sport will need to continue on and be a viable success story in it's own right.

And after a year of seeing Rossi nowhere near the front, I don't think the sport is in half as bad shape as I thought it would be without him.

MotoGP will continue on. Rossi should be treated no different to anyone else by the sporting authority itself. Leave the favouritism/attention whoring etc to the media. The sport NEEDS to be above it, and unfortunately the track record suggests that they are not.

I don't care whether or not that actually focus on Valentino. My point was that the GPC have created a pitfall for a majority of the competitors, and the golden boy has fallen into it.

The pit should have been apparent long before Vale took a nasty plunge. I suppose Dorna saw it b/c they've been plotting CRT for a while, but most of the people in the GPC seem obsessed with getting to next season.

The sport ISN'T without Rossi yet... Rossi still commands an insanely large majority of fans even though he's struggling on the Ducati. I don't understand how it's anything like an insight towards MotoGP without Rossi.

I don't think people realise the sheer numbers that do follow Rossi and unless someone else takes his mantle (Simo is the closest as a next bet here in the UK at least) it will have a big impact on the sport as a whole, each and every team.

The fans aren't entering my argument. The sport has had fans long before Rossi, and will continue to do so after he is gone. The sport is not being held to ransom by a bunch of people dancing around blasting air horns and dressing in fluro yellow. There may be legions of them, but if they will just pack up and leave the sport once Rossi leaves - then apart from paying for their ticket, they probably aren't the kind of long term fans that were ever sticking around anyway.. so good riddance.

The front of the field, and the majority of the television coverage IS without Rossi at the moment. Well and truly. I'm sure you've been frustrated when the video coverage is showing an 'almost battle' for second, when surely watching Rossi ride through the field from his qualifying position of 12th - to his race position of "6th'ish".. but very little air time actually goes back that way. That's just the way things are, Repsol is more deserving of coverage than Marlboro at the moment.

So yes, we are well and truly getting a preview of the sport without Rossi. A sneak peak maybe, but a look-in none the less.. and it isn't half as boring as I thought it might be. MotoGP does NOT need need Vale to be exciting. It may lose a little of it's flair for a time, but the sport will live on.

When you have riders like Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Spies - and a legion of young comer-uppers like Marquez and Co, MotoGP will be just fine.

I'd love to see Rossi bow out with some success, but if it doesn't eventuate.. so be it. I'll watch Stoner/Lorenzo/Pedrosa hang off their bikes instead and love it just as much.