Valentino Rossi hopes pre-season testing work at Jerez will provide Ducati with a better baseline setup and prove key to reversing its fortunes in MotoGP's Spanish Grand Prix after a disastrous opening weekend in Qatar.
Following a disappointing first year with the Desmosedici, Rossi and Ducati started 2012 with fresh hope, only for that to be promptly dashed as he struggled home in 10th at Qatar, behind works teammate Nicky Hayden and Pramac satellite rider Hector Barbera. With the handling of the GP12 still Rossi's main issue, he says Ducati's preseason work at Jerez could pay dividends during Friday and Saturday's crucial practice sessions.
"By the end of the three-day test in March, we had found a decent setup for the GP12, so we have a base to start from for this track as we prepare the bike for the race," Rossi said. "It will be very important to work well during the Friday and Saturday practice sessions, focusing particularly on maintaining a good direction and on taking advantage of what we currently have to work with.
"I've always liked the Jerez track a lot, and we certainly must try to do better than in Qatar."
Ducati team manager Vittoriano Guareschi echoed Rossi's sentiments, saying the goal would be to take advantage of testing work in order to provide the seven-time champion with a better starting point.
"We're returning to Jerez a month after the winter test there, so we should find very similar conditions," he explained. "The first race, in Qatar, was very difficult for Valentino, as we didn't find a good set-up that would let him feel comfortable on the bike. In Spain, by taking advantage of the work we did there in March, we'll focus on helping him once again find a good feeling."