Rossi Makes Official Ducati Debut

Vale dons Ducati Corse Red

By Motorcycle.com Staff, Jan. 11, 2011
Valentino Rossi made his long-awaited debut in full Ducati colors at the 2011 Wroom event in Trento, Italy.

Rossi, and his new teammate Nicky Hayden, are in Trento in the Dolomites in the Italian Alps for the annual press and ski event held jointly by Ducati and Ferrari.

The nine-time Grand Prix Champion tested with Ducati's MotoGP team after the 2010 season ended but he was still under contract to Yamaha until 2011 and was forbidden from dressing as or publicly commenting on being a Ducati rider.

“I feel quite strange speaking in red!” Rossi told MotoGP.com. “We were always big enemies with Ducati, so I need time to feel normal in this shirt!”

Valentino Rossi

Attire isn’t Rossi’s only concern as he is still trying to recover from shoulder injuries suffered last season.

“Honestly, I had hoped to be a little better by this time, but instead, it’s going to be quite a race to have decent fitness in time for the first test,” says Rossi. “My recovery is exactly on schedule, but it's long: we’re working hard to at least recover mobility in my shoulder, which I’ll need to ride the bike well and to be able to fit behind the windscreen.

“I won’t be able to be in top form for the first test in Malaysia, because it will be impossible to regain full strength, but I hope to be able to have a good seating position. The doctors assured me that the shoulder will return to 100 percent in a few months.”

Rossi’s new teammate is hoping to continue his progression with Ducati in 2011.

“This my third year with Ducati,” says Hayden. “The start was a little bit difficult, but it’s gotten better and better since I’ve been on this team and on this bike. We’ve grown a lot, the bike has improved, and my relationship with the team has improved.

“We made a big step from the first year to the second, and I’d like to do the same this year. We know we have a good bike. We’ve made a couple of little tweaks for next year by adding some staff and a few engineers to help me.”

The 2011 Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP racebike will be unveiled Jan. 12 and Motorcycle.com will have more as details are released, but for now, please visit our gallery for pictures of Rossi in Ducati colors.

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