VALENCIA, SPAIN, NOV. 6 - Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi doesn't get along with the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain. It was here in Valencia that Rossi threw away the 2006 World Championship and it's here that he continues to struggle. Today was no different."Historically and unfortunately I suffer a lot always in Valencia and I think it is my worst track of the whole championship," Rossi admitted. "It is also my fault because my style in this track is not fast enough. But in the last races we improved a lot and we work very much during the practice and, apart from Phillip Island where it was more difficult, we had a good pace in the race. But now we have to try now in Valencia and it is like a hard bet to make a good result for me in Valencia."Rossi was never up to the pace of the leaders and only a quick final lap-one of two in the 1:32's-moved him to the fourth fastest spot and nearly the front row."It was a difficult practice because this morning and this afternoon we tried a lot of different things without fixing the problem," Rossi said. "We played the last card at the end and I improved a lot my pace and my time and I made a good job because I did the perfect lap for my potential. I put all the best splits together without making any mistakes and I am happy about fourth because it means nothing is lost for tomorrow and especially because we always fight between eighth and tenth. It was a good last lap but we have to improve and to try and have a good setting to do 30 fast laps and after we have to decide which rear tire we are able to use."The problem, Rossi said, was rear tire grip, "so when I open the throttle I always have a big slide and at the end we modify the balance of the bike and try to increase the weight on the tire and it worked. It works and I was not so bad in the last laps but all is open. We need to make another step for tomorrow."Complicating Rossi's work was Bridgestones new tires. The gap before the race compounds has been increased at the insistence of the riders, but Rossi didn't see much difference."No, I don't know who says this, but they are the same tires, but the softer tire is better now and the hard tire is worse. The soft tire is an option for the race that last year was too soft but the hard tire now is too hard. From one point it is better and from another worse."Another complicating factor is Rossi's still injured right shoulder. He confirmed that the should wasn't helping and that he wasn't able "to ride the bike and I'm not at 100%. But at the same time it is also something about our setting with the M1. Last year I could always use the hard tire but the best races were with the hard tire. But this year we can never use it and we don't understand why."Following Rossi's first taste of the Ducati Marlboro Desmosedici GP11 on Tuesday and Wednesday, Rossi will return to Italy where he's expected to have surgery on the shoulder either the Monday or Tuesday after the test."I will try the Ducati, back home and have the operation," in Milan, he said. "I think it will be one day and one night" in the hospital.

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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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