Ducati Marlboro Team rider Nicky Hayden will start from second on the grid at tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Portugal with his team-mate Casey Stoner fourth following the cancellation of this afternoon’s qualifying practice due to adverse weather. After yesterday’s downpours torrential rain continued to fall throughout today, with the riders contesting this morning’s final free practice in wet conditions before the track became too flooded after lunch.
As such the grid positions were decided by the combined standings of the three free practice sessions that had taken place previously and with none of the top riders having improved this morning the lead positions from yesterday stood firm. Despite struggling with his wet setting and suffering a crash this morning Hayden will start from the front row for the second time in three races whilst Stoner, who also crashed this morning, starts from just behind him on the second row.
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd – 1’48.657
“This morning wasn’t so wet but my feeling wasn’t great and I had a crash quite early in the session so we have a few things we need to work on. I know it’s not great for the fans here and the people watching at home but with that amount of water on track it wasn’t worth the risk this afternoon. Of course we accept risks every day in our sport but in these conditions it’s just too much. It was a shame it washed out but for me a front row’s a front row and now we have to try and take advantage of it. The weather looks like it could be good tomorrow, in which case it could be a pretty wild race. We’ll just crack them curtains open, see what we got and try to make a good race.”
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th – 1’49.061
“What can I say? This weekend has been a bit of a disaster. We’ve had four sessions and only been able to ride in two, whilst the forecast for tomorrow is sketchy. If anything it looks like it might rain in the morning and then be dry for the race, which would throw up all kind of confusion with set-up – from fuel consumption to tyre choice. It’s disappointing we didn’t get the opportunity to try for a front row start because I think we had a good chance today but that’s the way it turned out. All we can do is wait and see what happens tomorrow.”
Circuit Record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda – 2009), 1’36.937 – 155.309 Km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2008), 1’35.715 – 157.291 Km/h