Valentino Rossi believes a poor start cost him a possible podium finish in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix. The Ducati star fell to tenth early on before working his way up to fifth, passing teammate Nicky Hayden on the final lap. Rossi sees his qualifying performances as a reason for him finding himself down the order at the start of races and is frustrated by the lack of progress in that area.
“Overall, I think today was the best dry result of the year for Ducati, because Nicky had a great race as well. We're quite happy, as our pace was very good, especially toward the end. Unfortunately, I lost time at the beginning. Not only was I on the fourth row, but I also had a bad start. I got by some riders pretty quickly, but by then I had already accumulated too much of a disadvantage. Otherwise, I think it would have been possible to make the podium. We're having too much trouble in practice. Normally we're able to have a decent rhythm with the hard tyres, but when we put on the soft, we can't manage to cut those six or seven tenths that the others drop. For two races, we've worked on a setting that allows us to be consistent until the end of the race, but at the same time, it gives me more trouble with the front. When I put on the soft tyre, the extra grip makes that problem worse and I'm not able to effectively initiate corner turn-in. We have to work on that area.”
Rossi took advantage on the last lap of a battle between Hayden and LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl where the American lost momentum. Despite losing a place so close to the end, the 2006 world champion had no regrets for chasing a spot on the podium.
“I got a good start, but I was spinning a lot in the beginning, and I thought I was going to destroy the tyre. Once I went to a smoother map, I was able to really start driving off the corners and bringing the group back. Those last seven, eight laps, I really gave it everything; I wasn't sure I was going to finish, but I was sure I was going to go for it. On the last lap, after I went by Bradl for fourth, I was only thinking about trying to pass 'Dovi' and get the Ducati on the podium, so I don't regret the fact that I tried. In the end, we can't be happy with seventh, but I hope all the Ducati fans that came to support us can be proud of this team this weekend. They gave me a good bike, and we really had a shot at the podium today.”