Rossi shines in F1 test with Ferrari

Rossi shines in F1 test with Ferrari

Motorcycling world champion Valentino Rossi made critics eat their words yesterday with a strong performance for Ferrari in testing.

The charismatic Italian, driving an old F2004 with a rev-limited V10 engine, completed 53 laps at the Valencia circuit in eastern Spain and was ninth fastest of the 15 drivers in action.

The dominant force in MotoGP had a best lap of 1:12.851, according to Ferrari. That was little more than a second slower than Ferrari's seven times world champion Michael Schumacher in the new V8-powered 248 car. World champion Fernando Alonso was fastest in 1:11.291.

"It was a very good performance, we cannot deny it," said a Ferrari spokesman. "

Rossi spun off on his opening lap on Tuesday after being sidelined for most of the day by steady rain. Conditions yesterday were damp in the morning but dry in the afternoon.

The Italian's spin drew a sarcastic response from old MotoGP foe and compatriot Max Biaggi, who tested with Midland last month at a wet Silverstone.

"This time I beat him," commented Biaggi, who has left MotoGP after losing his Honda ride, in the Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I did 10 laps on a wet track at Silverstone... I could explain to him how not to spin a F1 car."

While Biaggi's run may have been more for publicity purposes, Rossi has a real chance of making the jump from two wheels to four with Ferrari.

The 26-year-old, with a year to run on his Yamaha contract, has had several increasingly serious tests since his first in 2004.

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