Valentino Rossi believes he and Ducati are in a much better position than they were a week ago at Indianapolis after going sixth fastest today in the Czech Republic. The former world champion was just under half a second shy of pacesetter Dani Pedrosa and although he expects the leaders to pick up more pace tomorrow, Rossi is taking the positives from the day.

“I’m happy because we went pretty well today, and in particular, the gap to the front makes us fairly optimistic. This is a beautiful track that I like a lot. It’s where I got my first win and my first world title, and we were also pretty strong here last year on the Ducati. Both of today’s sessions were good. We worked well, trying to find the best setup compromise for this circuit, and when we put on the soft tyre, we were finally able to improve the performance and to do a number of laps not too far from the leaders’ times. The pace is also decent.”

“The riders ahead certainly still have some margin, so tomorrow, in addition to choosing which tyre to use in the race, we’ll have to try to improve a bit ourselves as well. At the moment, the soft is performing better, but we’ll see.”

Rossi is Ducati’s sole representative this weekend after Nicky Hayden’s heavy crash at Indy ruled him out of the Czech Republic Grand Prix through injury.