MONTEREY, CA, JULY 22 –

Ducati Marlboro's Valentino Rossi will not switch between the Desmosedici GP11.1 and the GP11 at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix after talking it over with his teammate Nicky Hayden and crew chief Jeremy Burgess.Rossi considered testing the two Ducatis back to back after finishing ninth last week in Germany, his worst finish of the season in his second race on the GP11.1. (He'd first raced it in his home Grand Prix at Mugello.) Today he was ninth in the cool morning practice and .170 sec. behind teammate Hayden, who found little difference between the bikes and set his time on the new one, though incrementally. That helped convince Rossi to stick with the GP11.1 for the remainder of the weekend.

"We have both new bikes, both 11.1, so we continue with this, because we spoke yesterday also with Jerry [Burgess] and for us is not a lot of difference," Rossi said after his lap of 1:23.467 mins., a time which was 1.167 secs. off the pace-setting Casey Stoner [Repsol Honda]. So maybe is better concentrate on the new bike and try to improve our potential. Nicky [Hayden] make the comparison this morning and, like we expect, is more or less a very similar feeling, so I think we continue with two new bikes."

For his initial set-up at Laguna Seca, a track, like Germany, with predominantly left-hand corners, he continued "with the setting of Germany in the race, because we did such a big modify with the weight distribution. The other bike was more normal setting, like before. I confirm that the bike of Germany race is a bit better. Now we are out of balance with the front, so I have some problem to go down, especially to come up in the uphill, so we need to find the right balance and also find the better line, but we can improve."The cool morning temperatures on the Monterey Peninsula were a cause of concern for the riders, many of whom have crashed in similar conditions at other racetracks. Bridgestone responded by bringing an extra-soft compound asymmetric rear tire for the morning, which Rossi endorsed."I am happy because Bridgestone bring a softer tire that was okay for this morning when is cold," he said. "For this afternoon for sure the temperature will be a lot higher, but we have, anyway, harder rear and harder front to try. We hope we are okay.Overall, he said, the "Track is good. Is very tricky this track and so difficult, so is difficult also find the right line. Need more, so I have also to improve the riding style for improve the lap time. but I like Laguna, is good."

 

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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.

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