This may signify a change in attitude towards the seriousness of Rossi's F1 desires. If he was in a Ferrari for 2007 I would have reason to champion a team that has fallen out of favour with me since acquiring the Cheating German Bastard.
As per link:
Rossi matches F1 regulars!
MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi put his opening day Valencia embarrassment well and truly behind him with a solid second day for Ferrari - during which he set the 9th best lap time out of the 15 drivers present!
The test marks Rossi's fourth outing in a Ferrari Formula One car, but is his first 'real' test - with other teams and drivers on track at the same time - after previous private test sessions held at Fiorano and Mugello.
However, Rossi was left red faced on Tuesday when his rain delayed Valencia debut, on wet weather tyres and in front of most of the F1 paddock, ended within half a lap after the Italian superstar spun and stalled his F2004.
But it was arguably the regular F1 drivers who were left red faced on Wednesday when the #46 set a best lap time of 1min 12.851secs from 53 laps - placing the seven times motorcycling world champion just 1.622secs from fastest man, and reigning F1 world champion, Fernando Alonso of Renault.
Among those that the Camel Yamaha rider was ahead of today were multiple GP winner David Coulthard of Red Bull Racing, WilliamsF1 driver Mark Webber, McLaren test driver Gary Paffett and Toyota race driver Jarno Trulli.
However, although it is tempting to make direct comparisons between Rossi and the F1 regulars present - including seven times world champion Michael Schumacher, who was just over a second quicker than Vale - it is worth remembering that Rossi was driving a Ferrari F2004 M, rather than the 2006 spec Ferrari 248, muddying the waters slightly.
The most important - but by no means only - difference between the two machines is the engine: The 248 used by Schumacher (and most other F1 cars at Valencia) is powered by an 'unlimited' 2.4-litre V8 engine, as required by the 2006 regulations.
However, a rule designed to help teams unable to acquire a new V8 means that 3.0-litre V10 engines can still be raced in 2006, providing their power is limited to a level comparable to the V8 - and it was this type of 'limited' V10 engine (rather than an unlimited pre-2006 spec V10) which ANSA reports Rossi's car as having.
If that is the case - and providing Ferrari have accurately limited the engine - then Rossi has done a very impressive job today (despite a late spin) and will no doubt be seeking to improve even further tomorrow - when 2006 Ferrari race driver Felipe Massa will join Schumacher and Rossi in action for the Italian team.
The Wednesday Valencia F1 test times can be seen below:
Leading times (1 February) - Valencia:
1. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault 1m 11.229s 47 laps M *
2. Jenson Button Honda-Honda 1m 11.332s 86 laps M *
3. Michael Schumacher Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 11.814s 71 laps B *
4. Juan Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1m 11.978s 68 laps M *
5. Rubens Barrichello Honda-Honda 1m 12.063s 115 laps M *
6. Heikki Kovalainen Renault-Renault 1m 12.122s 32 laps M *
7. Jacques Villeneuve BMW-Sauber 1m 12.622s 75 laps M *
8. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1m 12.668s 78 laps B *
9. Valentino Rossi Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 12.851s 53 laps B
10. David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 1m 12.891s 36 laps M *
11. Alex Wurz Williams-Cosworth 1m 12.925s 82 laps B
12. Gary Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1m 12.937s 115 laps M
13. Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 1m 13.050s 68 laps B *
14. Jarno Trulli Toyota-Toyota 1m 13.075s 108 laps B *
15. Robert Kubica BMW-Sauber 1m 13.353s 69 laps M
[M denotes Michelin tyres / B denotes Bridgestone tyres / * denotes 2006 car.]
Track conditions: In the morning wet, later sunny and dry.