The rain that was predicted for the second day of testing in Sepang, Malaysia, never appeared, and both Ducati Marlboro Team riders were able to take full advantage of the conditions, starting from the track’s 10:00 a.m. opening. Valentino Rossi finished approximately 20 minutes before the day ended at 6 p.m., satisfied with the work carried out on the GP11, and with status of his still-healing shoulder.
Nicky Hayden lowered his best lap time from yesterday by over a second, and he hopes to take a more decisive step forward during tomorrow’s final of the first winter test of 2011.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 11th, 2’02.379 (62 laps)
“We’ve been quite lucky with the weather, it rained the first two days I was here, but it’s been sunny since the test started. Things definitely went a little bit smoother today—we dropped over a second from the lap time—but the gap to the front is still pretty big. I had a problem with vibration, and we spent a lot of time working to eliminate that. We’re going in the right direction, and we just need to keep taking small steps. We checked a lot of fork settings, some riding positions, and different geometry. It’s cool to see that the team atmosphere is really positive, not just between me and Valentino, but with the engineers too. I’m not happy to be this far off the pace, but it’s still early.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th, 2’02.597 (42 laps)
“I’m happy because I was able to ride again today. I did another 42 laps, which is reassuring. Even when I work my shoulder hard, I’m finding that it doesn’t get worse, and I don’t suffer too much, to the extent that I was able to start again this morning without having lost anything compared to yesterday. Actually, the shoulder is even getting better as I ride, and I’m able to make the movements that are required. Obviously, it’s still a handicap, because eventually I begin to lose strength and the pain increases, but we were able to do some good, consistent work. We tested some new fairings, trying out the aerodynamics. There’s still a little vibration at the front that we weren’t able to eliminate, but we have some cards we can play tomorrow to address that. We have to get a little more experience to better understand the bike’s reactions when we change tires, from soft to hard and vice versa. If the weather stays nice, the track conditions will continue to improve, and I think lap times could drop a bit. Naturally, beyond feeling increasingly comfortable on the bike, one of our goals is to be able to ride it more easily. We’re satisfied with the progress we’re making.