Ferrari's Fernando Alonso pulled off one of the most surprising Formula One victories in recent years last Sunday in Malaysia, taking advantage of mixed conditions to guide a car widely regarded as a crapwagon to the top step of the podium.
But don't expect a similar stunner from Italy's other iconic motor racing team, Ducati, at the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar on April 8, said Valentino Rossi.
"I don't know whether it's possible for us to do such a miracle in Doha," Rossi told Italian media. "This is our real situation at this time: not too excited like at Sepang (test) one, nor so depressed like at Sepang two."
Rossi ended up a promising sixth overall last weekend at the Jerez test after the team made significant setup changes before the final day of the test Sunday. Rossi was a disappointing and distant ninth after the first day of the test Friday, when the team based his setup on flawed premises devised from the first two tests at Sepang.
"I've told (Filippo) Preziosi (Ducati Corse general manager) what are the things that don't work," Rossi said. "After the first test in Malaysia, someone had some 'marvelous ideas' that turned out to be sh*t.
"At least I've managed to do 15 consecutive laps. This is our position at the moment, and if everything goes well, we'll be able to do it again in Qatar."
One small problem: The Grand Prix of Qatar is a 22-lap race.