Rossi awaits 'strange' weekend


Valentino Rossi is readying himself for a 'strange weekend' in which he will conclude a disappointing two years with Ducati's MotoGP squad.

The seven-time champion's move onto the Desmosedici was supposed to be a dream marriage, but the past two seasons have been marked by frustration rather than success.

Having never failed to win at least one race in his previous 11 seasons in grand prix racing, Rossi can boast just three podiums - two coming in the wet – in 34 races for Ducati.

Ducati has failed to make discernible progress since 'The Doctor' and his crew moved across.

At the latest Phillip Island grand prix, Rossi could only qualify eighth, two seconds down on the weekend's runaway victory Casey Stoner.

On top of his success at Honda, Stoner's record at Ducati – with whom he won the 2007 championship and collected 23 wins – has also proved troublesome to Rossi's previously unchallenged right to be labelled the greatest of all time.

Rossi previously said that as a result of his struggles, and the success of Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha, he expects to start 2013 as a number two rider.

His pre-race comments did little to reference Valencia being his final weekend for Ducati, although he did admit it would be a strange weekend.

Immediately afterwards he will complete his switch to Yamaha in time for the first post-season tests.

"It will be a strange weekend that should be challenging for a few different reasons, but we'll do our best," Rossi said.

"Valencia definitely isn't one of my favourite circuits, apart from the fact that it's in Spain, which always has a great atmosphere.

"It's a 'Micky Mouse' track that's small for MotoGP and therefore difficult and tricky.

"There are a bunch of left hand corners, and I normally prefer those that go to the right. Anyway, we'll see."

Team manager Vittoriano Guareschi said the team would do all it could to help Rossi clinch fifth in the championship on his farewell grand prix.

The Italian currently lies sixth, eight points behind Honda satellite rider Alvaro Bautista.

"It's the last race, and we have the chance for Valentino to finish the season in fifth place," Guareschi explained.

"We'll all do our best to help him achieve that."

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