Nicky Hayden once again ended up being the best Ducati rider at Jerez and put in several hard fought and entertaining passes until you noticed that after a few laps that he was running and the slowly began to fade and ended up in 8th, behind MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl who was suffering from arm issues, so even if the GP12 has “potential” Ducati still has several issues to work out.
“It was fun for a couple of laps. We know our bike is great at generating heat in the tyres, and for the first few laps, I was able do what I wanted. Then about the time it looked like the other guys’ tyres came up to temperature, mine had already started losing grip, especially in the front. I was pushing wide in places and guys started coming past me. We knew it would be tough in the dry. My setup was okay, but to really try to go with those guys wasn’t possible. I was able to close back down on Bradl at the end and have a bit of a race the last couple of laps, but he beat me. Eighth place is certainly not what our goal is. The bike’s got a lot of potential, but at the moment, the gap to the rest is still too far. Hopefully we can get a dry weekend in Estoril and try to be closer to the front on Sunday,” said Hayden.
Unfortunately Hayden has to play second fiddle when it comes to his team mate Valentino Rossi who still garners a massive amount of attention with the European media.
Rossi admitted that he finally used Nicky Hayden’s set-up data with some adjustments calling it more ‘Ducati style’ which gave him some positive signs, including harder braking and better corner entry, but he’ll have to modify his riding style a little more (we’ve heard that one before) and will start trying it at Estoril next Friday.
In Qatar Rossi complained about Hector Barbera, but in today’s race the Italian finished ahead of the Pramac Ducati rider and laughingly said he was ‘very happy’ about it, and was asked about Barbera turning away and not shaking his hand on the cool down lap, Rossi said that he tried again and the Spaniard then accepted his handshake.
Rossi was also told that Jorge Lorenzo had declared to the press that he would have no problem with him eventually returning to the Yamaha fold, he replied, “I’ve very grateful to Lorenzo and in this difficult moment he’s the only rider who still respects me and I appreciate it, but it’s still too early to talk about next season, we still have to make the Ducati work, that is our goal.””
“The positive thing from today’s race is that I think it might help us to do a bit better in the coming events, starting next week in Portugal. Today we used a setup that’s new for us, and it gave some positive signs. First we tried some solutions to give me a feeling similar to what I’ve had in the past, but it doesn’t work. Today’s setting was very similar to what Nicky has used for a while, though not exactly the same. I must get used to riding the bike a bit differently than I’m used to, and today that caused me to lose some ground in the early laps because I was basically starting blind. I wasn’t going bad once I found my rhythm, in the sense that I was matching the times of those who were fighting for sixth place, and I was able to push until the end, doing a 1:41.0 on the penultimate lap. This helps me to be a little more optimistic as I look ahead to the next races because if I’m able to ride a bit better, it could be a place for us to start from. In fact, we’ll use this setting when we start on Friday. Naturally, we’ll have to keep working, be more effective in qualifying so that we can start further forward, and improve acceleration and a number of other things, which we’ve already discussed at Ducati as we try, together, to improve the GP12.”