Valentino Rossi ended the first day's MotoGP testing at Sepang in a positive frame of mind despite registering only the 12th-fastest time of the day, nearly two seconds off the pace of Casey Stoner.
The Italian multiple MotoGP champion is still lacking strength following his shoulder surgery over the winter break and admitted that he is still discovering the secrets of his new Ducati Desmosedici GP11. But he said that he was pleased to have been able to complete 41 laps and felt much more optimistic about his physical situation than he had after the Misano on a superbike earlier this month.
"Rarely have I been this happy with a 12th place, because after the test at Misano, we were pretty pessimistic considering how bad I felt there," he said. "It went better here though, especially in the morning, and we were able to do 20, 25 laps at a decent speed.
"Although we still have a lot of work to do, we did a lot today: we worked on the riding position, and we're starting to understand, among the many details that we can adjust on this bike, what the best solutions are. The Ducati's DNA doesn't need to be changed; we have to take advantage of the positive aspects and improve the others.
"Unfortunately, it became more difficult when I lost a lot of strength in the afternoon, but in the end I was able to do about 15 more laps," he added. "Let's say that at the moment, I have quite a bit of pain and not much strength, whereas the opposite would be preferable!
"The hardest parts are the straights and on hard braking into right corners, like Turn 1 and Turn 4; there alone I lose about a second, whereas the rest of the lap is OK, because compared to Valencia, I'm able to ride much better.
"It will be important to be able to rest well tonight in order to regain some mobility so that I can do 30 or 40 laps tomorrow. I'll have a relaxing massage and put ice on it."