Nine-time world champion Valentino has finally found some trust in the front end of his Desmosedici GP12 and, although he feels that rivals Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa are too fast to catch for a podium at the Qatar MotoGP season opener, he hasn't ruled out a top-three finish at other circuits.
Rossi has found a way to get some of the feeling he required from the front Bridgestone on the final day of testing at Jerez, posting the sixth-quickest time and cutting the deficit to Casey Stoner from 1.8s to 0.9s with an hour to spare. He says there is still understeer causing issues but was upbeat wen he faced the world's media.
"It looks like this bike is better in the front and it gives some more information. The bigger problem remain the understeer so we have to try to work, understeer is still the issue. The biggest step was with the feeling on the front because we modify the rear, we modify the front and I have feeling to hold my body on the front, to trust in the front - this is so important but the understeer remain the same," said Rossi, speaking to bikesportnews.com at Jerez.
"This is something in the bike's DNA a little bit. So our target is try to fix, whether this is possible with the setting I don't know. In this test, we work well. Step by step I can increase the feeling with the bikes but if you try like last year, or in the second test, you become crazy.
"Unfortunately, we started from a bad point because in the second test we follow the wrong way for improve the bike and here, especially Friday, we pay because we start from that base. Maybe we can make a bit better as the programme for today was the plan for yesterday and if I am in this condition Saturday and we have Sunday then I can concentrate more on the laptime. I don't think nothing fantastic but a bit faster, yes.
"I am happy because it is a sixth place and this is our potential now. We can squeeze the potential of the bike and Rossi and Ducati are here. For me this is the more real test and we will work in the season for improve. For me, for the podium, Stoner and Lorenzo and Pedrosa are a lot faster than us but it depends also track by track what is our potential."