Valentino Rossi had a tough first day Tuesday testing Ferrari’s Formula One race machine at the Valencia Circuit in Spain – the first day of his third test with Ferrari ended after just half a lap, with wet and rainy conditions conspiring to cause a spin and off-track excursion for the MotoGP champ.
The incident didn’t seem to affect Rossi much, and on the second and third days of the test he was quickly back in the mix, and posting times competitive with those of series veterans.
On day two (Wednesday), Rossi was recorded as ninth-quickest with a best lap of 1’12.851 (out of 53 laps). This put him ahead of some notable F1 veterans, experienced drivers like David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli.
Rossi continued his learning process with the F1 machine today, his best lap of 1’12.360 putting him twelfth of 16 drivers. Again he was faster than some of the big names, topping Trulli as well as Juan Montoya in the Mclaren-Mercedes.
The young Italian MotoGP racer’s exceptional performance at the test prompted multi-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher to tell the press that Rossi is “ready for F1”. The Ferrari Rossi drove was still using last year’s 3.0L V10 engine, while most of the other drivers had the new 2.4L V8s.
With Rossi testing for Ferrari for the third time, the European press is awash with rumors that the MotoGP champ plans to move to F1 racing soon, perhaps as early as the 2007 season. Having gotten “up to speed” in an incredibly short amount of time, it looks as though Rossi could have a real future in the four-wheeled world. Perhaps he has ambitions to become only the second man ever to win both the GP and F1 championships. Britain John Surtees was the first.