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Ducati_MotoGP_NightA series of mediocre tests have left some to doubt the pairing of Valentino Rossi and Ducati, but 38,000 people are more than excited about the 2011 MotoGP season. A massive crowd greeted Rossi, Nicky Hayden, and the Ducati team at “The Ducati MotoGP Night” in Bologna over the weekend.

Rossi still says that his shoulder is costing him a few tenths of a second on every lap, but Rossi promised to “grit his teeth” and push through the pain to give Ducati a fantastic 2011 MotoGP season.

“It’s great to be here,” Rossi said while touring the Ducati factory. “I’d like to say thank you to everyone. We all look to do well in our work and the bikes you make are really beautiful. Carry on doing a great job here and we’ll try to do a great job for you on the track.

“Our visit to Ducati today was really emotional. For many years I’ve raced for other motorcycle manufacturers and visited their factories, but for sure the atmosphere was never like this. Today was like returning home and I’m very happy to be working with an Italian team this year. The people we met today have a great passion in what they do and pride in who they are and now we have to be fast on the track, have some great races and give everyone motivation.”

Hayden was also happy to be racing with Ducati this year.Ducati_MotoGP_Night_Bologna

“Ducati is really unique. The bikes are special, the people that work here are special and now let’s hope that we can give them the special results that they deserve.

“I’m very happy to be here today, happy to ride the Desmosedici and happy to be a part of this team. I know very well how hard the season will be, MotoGP is never easy, but that’s why we love it. The last tests in Malaysia were difficult, but our team spirit is always positive. Today we were in Ducati, saw the factory and the enthusiasm of all the people there and now I’m just waiting to get back on the track and give all the Italian fans the results they deserve.”

Ducati hasn’t been able to match the speed of the Honda or Yamaha teams, but Ducati Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi says that the mediocre tests have shown exactly what needs to be done in order to be ready for the 2011 MotoGP season.

Ducati will have one more testing session before they take to the grid on March 20th at Qatar.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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