Wayne Gardner, in his weekly column (http://www.waynegardnerapproved.com/wr34.htm
), makes a very good point regarding the fact that Yamaha released Rossi from his contract obligations early so that he could undertake the Valencia test.
While I don't regard Wayne as the fount of all wisdom any more than I do Kevin Schwantz, both contribute perspective from the 'inner circle' though nowadays it is unlikely to be the innermost circle. In this case though I think Wanye has hit on a point that is bleedingly obvious yet most of us have overlooked.
That point is that had Rossi NOT been able to ride the Duc at Valencia, any development to tailor the bike more accurately to what he wants could not have started until after the next test which is, from memory, in February - not many weeks before the season starts. In effect, Yamaha have handed Rossi/Ducati two months' of development time - which is as it now appears, likely a very valuable 'gift' indeed.
Personally I think this is of great benefit for the good of the '11 season - firstly for Rossi and Ducati's sake but also because, hopefully, everybody else's achievements wont be swamped by the ongoing focus on Ducati struggling to get the damn thing competitive. Putting aside the reality, for a moment, of what it takes to win a WC, the fact is that when Rossi isn't competitive - for whatever reason - the relative efforts of everybody else in the field is devalued by the perception that any troubles Rossi may be having makes the competition less valid.
I remain convinced that Rossi's very underwhelming performance at Valencia was, strategically, a damn fine thing as it has obviously spurred Ducati to move most expeditiously and positively to make changes to the bike. I don't think that was entirely a matter of happy accident.