Valentino Rossi insists switching to Ducati's new GP11.1 was the correct call in Assen, despite struggling throughout the weekend and finishing more than 30 seconds behind Ben Spies in the race.
While the 2012 chassis and 800cc engine Rossi was provided with by Ducati did not yield instant benefits, the Italian believes the switch was justified as he feels the GP11.1 has a lot more potential performance.
"It was a good decision, we had to do it: by then we didn't have more margins of improvement with the GP11.1," Rossi told Motosprint.
"The new bike is a step forward: for example, the rear is more stable, and the new gearbox is a substantial advantage. We can say that Ducati's legendary rear skidding under acceleration is gone."
Rossi did concede, however, that he and the team still faced considerable challenges in order to return to winning ways, highlighting in particular the need for a more cohesive and efficient approach during race weekends.
"We haven't yet understood how to set up this bike properly, and I haven't completely understood how to ride it. Most of all, it always takes us too long to find the best solutions setup-wise. It takes us too long to find the right setup for the race. We need to find a way to make the bike more rideable by the second day of practice, in order to be able to set it up for the race.
"For instance, had I been able to find on the second day the level we reached on race day here, then I could have done a different race: I could have raced for the podium. Instead, as usual, I began without knowing what to expect. It's tough this way."
Rossi also stands by his decision to bring his own team, headed by Jeremy Burgess, to Ducati, although he did concede the transition had not been unproblematic.
"My team has worked with me for many years: I have no doubt about their capabilities. As for Jeremy, to have him at my side at the moment has its upsides and downsides, and that's fine with me. We need time to get to know the Ducati. The experience from who knows the bike is very important, and neither I nor my team have this experience, but in our garage there are technicians that know this bike well, so they can help us.
"When you're used to winning and you find yourself suffering, you have two possibilities: either you work to get back to winning ways, or you lose morale and give up. I've chosen the former solution, and I strongly hope that's what my team will do, too."