Ducati Marlboro Team pair Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner made an impressive start to the Grand Prix of Portugal, lapping second and fourth fastest respectively on a rain-hit first day. With the schedule reverting to four 45 minute sessions, as successfully trialled at Aragon, this morning’s opening free practice was effectively redundant as heavy Atlantic showers flooded the track in several areas.
Neither Hayden nor Stoner completed a single lap in the treacherous conditions but they were able to ride in the afternoon, adapting the set-up of their Desmosedici GP10 machines to the wet track. Both riders are looking for more traction in different areas and will most likely get the opportunity to refine their wet set-up tomorrow, with forecasts predicting more rain for the qualifying session. As a result of this morning’s washout, both practices tomorrow will be an hour long.
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd – 1’48.657
“This morning there was too much water on track to be able to ride, it was like a river, so we had to wait until the afternoon to check a few things. This track doesn’t have a lot of grip, especially on the rear. It’s not a very abrasive surface but I had a really good feeling on the front – we just need to make some improvements on the rear. We know the Ducati works well in the rain because the engine management system is good and that gives us a lot of control. Lately I’ve been quite fast in wet conditions but it takes me too long to get there. If it’s a wet race on Sunday and I’m going to be competitive then we need to be fast from the start so that’s an area we need to work on if it rains again tomorrow.”
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th – 1’49.061
“We feel we could and should have been faster today but we struggled for some reason with edge grip. When I picked up the bike the traction was good but on the edge it wasn’t. We also had some problems with the front brakes and I was having to adjust in every corner. Said that, we’re quite happy. I felt confident in these conditions and it looks like we’re going to have more of the same over the remainder of the weekend. We have work to do but for the moment I feel comfortable.”
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