Valentino Rossi says that he still needs to hold further talks with Ducati and Audi before he can decide on his future in MotoGP.
The Italian has endured an unhappy time with the Italian squad since joining for the start of the 2011 season, and has taken just two podiums in the last two seasons. Despite that, speculation had mounted that the Italian was set to stay with Ducati following encouraging talks with Audi chairman Rupert Stadler at the German Grand Prix. The Italian reiterated staying at Ducati remains an option, but said his mind was by no means settled.
"I have to speak more with Ducati and Audi for the future," he said. "I spoke in Germany with Audi people, [who have] a lot for enthusiasm for this project.
"We have to speak more deeply but it can be an option for the future. The problem is that I have to trust that the situation improves in the future, and that with the help of Audi we can fix the problems with the bike. But I don't have assurances [that] we are able to fix the bike because in one year and a half we have not been able to fix it. It depends on a lot of things."
Rossi also denied having any influence in Ducati's choice of a potential partner, should he decide to stay, with both Cal Crutchlow and current works rider Nicky Hayden believed to be the main contenders.
"I say that I like Cal very much, he is one of the funny guys, but I also like Nicky and know him better because we share the team for a lot of time. I think he is a good guy and also very fast, but I don't give advice to Ducati," Rossi explained.
Speaking about his form at Mugello, Rossi said his second practice deficit of almost one second could be cut both by switching on to soft rubber and making small tweaks to the setup.
"We had some problems [today]; the plan was to do long run but I had a lot of chattering, so I had to stop and change the plan," he said. "We have a bit more behind than what we expect, but also because the others at the end put on the soft tire and were able improve their lap time quite a lot. We decided to continue to work with the hard because we lost some time at the beginning with this problem, so we don't know exactly the potential with the soft.
"We have some problem – especially in the second half of the lap we lose too much, so we need to modify for tomorrow. Our pace is not fantastic but it is not so far from the guys in front, we just need two or three tenths to stay together."