If anyone thought that the media storm surrounding Valentino Rossi's switch to Ducati for the 2011 MotoGP season would die down once the announcement had been made official, they were to be proven utterly wrong. First, there was the saga of whether Yamaha would release Rossi early from his contract to allow the Italian to test the Ducati at Valencia, then there was the excitement and drama of the Valencia test itself.
Rossi ended the Valencia test 15th fastest, with only MotoGP returnee Toni Elias and MotoGP rookie Karel Abraham behind him, unleashing a tidal wave of speculation surrounding his test result. Rossi's slow time was put down to his still injured shoulder (for which he had surgery a few days later), and in wanting to get acquainted with the Ducati Desmosedici, rather than focus on trying to put in a fast lap.
While both these explanations are undoubtedly true, there were also a few of signs of panic among the Ducati team, despite team manager Alessandro Cicognani professing that Ducati was "not worried" about the times. Speaking to the press after the test, Ducati Corse director Filippo Preziosi described the test as a "bad test" and spoke of Rossi's lack of feeling with the front end. But the Ducati team had taken plenty of positives from the test, with Rossi expressing himself to be impressed with the engine and the rear grip, something he had complained about on the Yamaha just about all year.