Valentino Rossi is confident that Ducati will be closer to the pace from Brno onwards after two uncompetitive races in America.
The seven-time MotoGP champion, who announced between the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Indianapolis rounds that he would return to Yamaha in 2013 having called time on his frustrating Ducati stint, was a long way off the pace in both United States events. Rossi crashed heavily while running a distant eighth at Laguna, then finished seventh – almost a minute behind the leaders – at Indy. But Rossi reckons that the GP12 will be more competitive at Brno, where he finished sixth last year but within 12 seconds of victory.
"Laguna and Indy were two very difficult races, so I'm happy that we race again in just a few days, at Brno," he said. "The next two weeks will be very important for the rest of the season. I expect to do better in the Czech Republic, as it's a track that I like and that is more 'normal.' I had a pretty good dry race there last year with Ducati, also in terms of the gap to the front.
"Then next week we'll have two days of testing at Misano, where we'll have some new things to try that I hope will help us to be faster in the last part of the season."
Rossi will be the sole factory Ducati rider at Brno as Nicky Hayden is still recovering from the hand and head injuries he suffered when he crashed in Indianapolis qualifying.