MotoGP star Valentino Rossi has concluded his two-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya, though once again his programme was affected by the weather.
Yesterday it was the rain that compromised his track-time whereas it was thick fog which today caused problems, the Italian having to twiddle his thumbs for much of the morning.
After the fog cleared the sun came out, enabling the Maranello technicians to fit the car with slicks, which in turn lead to a remarkable improvement in lap times and performance indeed, the Italian posted a best time of 1:21.900 which in 2008 would have put him second on the grid for the Spanish GP behind Kimi Raikkonen.
“We kept the last three quarters of an hour to try a 'time attack' with little petrol and fresh tyres," said Rossi. "I would have given anything for such a lap time.”
The Italian admitted that he had much more fun compared to his last experience at Mugello in November 2008. “It's more fun here, because it's a little bit easier. It's more effort at Mugello, but this track here is really wonderful, with motorbikes and cars, although I have to say that turn 10 is a little tight and you're braking much later.”
“We tried different set ups and he improved a lot," added Luca Baldisserri, "this means that the driver learns quickly and has room for improvement.”
On hand to advise Rossi was Felipe Massa who drove the F2008 to the runner-up spot in the 2008 world championship.
Tomorrow, the Brazilian is due to get behind the wheel of the 'historic' single-seater, brought here by Maranello's F1 Clienti department, in order to gain confidence in a Formula 1 car again after the long break following his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian GP.