PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA, OCT 18 – Valentino Rossi will be allowed to test the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 at the end -of-season Valencia test after being given permission by Yamaha on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix.The question of whether Rossi or wouldn’t test had hung in the air for weeks, with Rossi taking every chance to say he believed they should let him, while Yamaha was mostly circumspect.The situation became complicated in Japan, where Rossi’s aggressive riding over the last two laps angered teammate Jorge Lorenzo. When Yamaha race boss Lin Jarvis was asked, that evening, about the possibility of Rossi testing in Valencia, he said there was “no update or anything on that situation.” Then he added, “Undecided, but I think (Masao) Furusawa (executive officer, engineering operations) said in Brno, from what I understand, that he was not intending. But I don’t know whether that’s, let’s say, the latest situation.”Some believed that Rossi needed to give Ducati some direction prior to having surgery on his injured left shoulder. But crew chief Jeremy Burgess wasn’t among them.”I don’t think it makes a scrap of difference, because two or three things can happen,” Burgess said. “A, he’s not 100% fit, so is it a fair test? Two, it could be raining for two days after Valencia, anyway. And in most sporting endeavors, and I do still consider motorcycling to be somewhat sporting, if your athlete isn’t at full fitness, you can’t expect to win. So you’ve got to be at full fitness first. Then you can have a positive test. You wouldn’t learn anything in the wet anyway, if it’s wet; it could be perfectly dry. At least if he’s fit when we come back in Sepang in the early part of February, we’ll get really good quality testing.”Following his third place finish in the Australian Grand Prix, Rossi confirmed that Yamaha was going to let him test.”I am so happy because last night I spoke with Mr. Furusawa and he said to me that Yamaha allowed me to try the Ducati after Valencia,” Rossi said. “I am happy because it means all the effort and all our special relationship means something, also for Yamaha like for me. I think it is very fair from Yamaha to say yes because we only have a little bit of testing, it is not something crucial but it is good and I am happy and I will try the bike.”He was also encouraged by the runaway performance of the Ducati under Casey Stoner, who won his fourth consecutive Australian Grand Prix.”I think hear the Ducati is a little bit faster than Yamaha in this track,” he said. “We discovered this also in the past, especially last year when Casey and me went 100% for the race and he beat me at the end. But also Casey in this track rides like a devil. For Casey to win I am quite happy. But now I have pressure now.”
Rossi to Test the Ducati
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.