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Rossi set to take engine penalty

Valentino Rossi, Ducati, Aragon 2011Valentino Rossi expects to start the Aragon Grand Prix from the pitlane with a 10-second penalty after exceeding his six-engine limit for 2011.

The change to the latest version of the Ducati, with a part aluminium frame, required modifications to the way the engine was fitted, and with Rossi having already used five engines prior to the new bike being introduced, to convert both his race and spare bikes to the new specification was always going to mean incurring a penalty at some stage.

When Rossi crashed in qualifying he opted to get his primary bike back to the pits to see if he could still obtain a respectable grid position rather than taking the spare and incurring an inevitable penalty. But having only managed 13th on the grid, Rossi said it now made sense to get the penalty out of the way at Aragon.

"The decision is not [final] yet, but I think that for tomorrow we can use the seventh engine and start from the pits, because unfortunately to have two bikes in aluminium we have to use another engine because the aluminium parts were suitable for the engine from Misano but the other bike had an older engine," he explained.

"Also for understanding and for development for next year, it's better to have two bikes the same.

"So I think that tomorrow we will start from the pits with the seventh engine. It is more difficult, and it is a pity because with the race tyre we are not so far [off the pace]. We waited because we wanted to understand if we could reach a good position on the grid, but 13th or from the pits - it doesn't change a lot."

He feels the configuration of the Spanish circuit makes a pitlane start less costly than it might be elsewhere.

"This track is not so bad for starting from the pits," Rossi said. "You'll maybe lose less than 10 seconds. Maybe Motegi is more difficult.

"The choice is because we want to understand our potential here, and we hope that we can be stronger. Looking at the situation, it's better that I use tomorrow [for the penalty] so for the last four races we have two bikes in a normal situation."

Rossi was confident that the bike had the potential to be higher up the grid than 13th, and blamed rider errors rather than his machinery.

"We expected more, because this morning wasn't so bad," he said. "With the race tyre, I wasn't so far from the other guys.

"I think I don't deserve the 13th place, because we were also unlucky because I had a crash unfortunately. With the softer tyre I was a bit faster in sector one and maybe I could have made a better lap time but I made a mistake, unfortunately. To seventh position is very close.

"I think we are going in a good way. I feel better on the bike. This track is a bit different because the rear is very important. We don't use the front a lot, unlike other tracks. So it's not the best track for understanding.

"Unfortunately the results are not with us, but I feel a bit better on the bike. For sure not fantastic, but I have a small improvement so we have to continue like this because it's the first step for the future."

He added that his accident, which happened at the penultimate corner 15 minutes into qualifying, was a relatively minor error, but one that might be avoided in future with a set-up change.

"I think I was one metre more on the inside and unfortunately when I touched the throttle I lost the front," said Rossi. "We have to maybe understand something in the weight distribution to avoid this problem."

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