A promising weekend for the Ducati Marlboro Team failed to materialise in top results today as Nicky Hayden finished sixth in a race that saw Casey Stoner crash out in the early stages. The pair made a strong start, Stoner launching from the second row to edge ahead of Hayden for third place into turn one as they looked to mount a twin assault on the podium positions.
However, Hayden lost touch with the lead group when Stoner slid out in front of him in the final corner at the end of the first lap. From there the American became embroiled in a battle with a group of hard charging riders, who he was forced to concede positions to due to unexpected difficulties under braking.
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 6th
“After qualifying and even warm-up this morning we were confident we could have a good race and put up a better fight than that. I got a decent start but I was struggling for feel under braking, I don’t know why. It has been a strong point for us all weekend but in the race I had no feeling from the front tyre from the first corner and couldn’t brake how I wanted. It made life difficult, especially when it came to battling with other riders. Sixth isn’t a terrible result but we thought we could put up a stronger fight here. Now we have a couple of days to regroup and hopefully come back stronger at Phillip Island.”
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) DNF
“I’m bitterly disappointed with this weekend. Going into that race we were confident of a good result. We knew we would be at the front challenging for the win and watching the race confirmed that. I know I had the pace to be up there. On the first lap I was calm, I made up some positions in the first two corners and when I got behind Dovizioso and Lorenzo I was happy to stay there and let the tyres get up to temperature. Unfortunately I crashed because they weren’t warm enough but I don’t think I could have been more careful over those opening laps. I’m so disappointed that such a small thing can ruin an entire weekend.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI – Ducati Marlboro Team Manager
“Casey’s crash was a real shame because today he had the pace to be fighting for the podium. He crashed on the first lap, probably because the tyre wasn’t up to temperature, and that was that. It never happened all weekend but today just when we were in with the chance of a good result, which is why Casey is so disappointed. In any case we leave here in the knowledge that our bike ran well at a circuit with very different characteristics to the last two. I’m also disappointed for Nicky, who had his best grid position since joining us but in the end did not finish with the result he was hoping for because of some unexpected problems. Anyway, he finished sixth and was consistent again following a difficult weekend at Motegi.”