Various reports have put Yamaha's star rider into the Ducati paddock come 2011 or so, but after registering times around the Mugello circuit in an F2008 racer that were just two-tenths of a second behind Kimi Raikkonen's outright lap record of 1:21.67 (set in the same car, for what it's worth), Yamaha team manager Davide Brivio said, "The greatest danger is Ferrari... I have to be worried about these excellent times because Valentino really could get the desire to change sport."
For its part, Ferrari seems very pleased with Rossi's excellent performance, and the Italian supercar manufacturer saw fit to send out a nice press release on the matter that you'll find after the break. Kudos, Valentino... and good luck!
[Sources: Autocar, The New York Times]
Valentino was extremely happy with his lap time of 1.21.900, clocked on the penultimate lap, almost over the time limit the team was allowed to use the Catalan track: "We kept the last three quarters of an hour to try a 'time attack' with little petrol and fresh tyres. I would have given anything for such a lap time." Rossi said that he had much more fun compared to his last experience in Mugello in November 2008. "It's more fun here, because it's a little bit easier. It's more effort in Mugello, but this track here is really wonderful, with motorbikes and cars, although I have to say that turn 10 is a little tight (the one with the spins) and you're braking much later."
Luca Baldisserri commented on the "Doctor's" adventure positively: "We tried different set ups and he improved a lot: this means that the driver learns quickly and has room for improvement." Before Valentino left the track he wanted to thank the whole team: "I want to thank Ferrari, but especially Domenicali and Montezemolo, for giving me this present."