Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden earned fourth and fifth places, respectively, in the Dutch TT on a day marked by difficult weather conditions, with cold temperatures resulting in a number of early crashes.
The warm-up session was wet, but the track began to dry out before the race, and the MotoGP riders changed their setups on the grid and replaced their rain tyres with slicks.
Valentino Rossi quickly advanced from eleventh position to fourth, thanks to a strong start and a good feeling with his bike, while Hayden posted his best dry result of the season.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th
“We’re pretty satisfied with this result because compared to practice, we made a big improvement in the race. It would have been nice had we found the right direction more quickly, but this is a new bike that we’re still learning to work with, so obviously it takes some experience to get it right. In the end, we managed to find a setup that allowed me to ride pretty well but, not having tried it before, I approached the first laps very carefully. To be honest, we were also a little unlucky, because the rain during the warm-up prevented us from trying the changes. Anyway, the weekend was positive overall, because we got confirmation that this bike is better in many ways, especially with regard to the rear end, which is now much more stable. On the other hand, we also know that we must keep working because we still have a gap to the competition to make up. It’s not as big as the time we lost today in terms of seconds, but it’s still there. Still, we’re all trying really hard, and we must continue to do so.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 5th
“Conditions have been all over the place all weekend, and the race wasn’t any different. We went out with a rain setup, but we saw that it was drying quickly and changed to a complete dry setup on the grid. There were a couple of little wet patches early on, but it was okay. We made a small change for the race, but nothing big. The first lap or two, the tyres heated up and I felt really good. Then I made a couple of early mistakes. I touched a white line and also pushed the front once and had to go straight at the chicane. Colin passed me, and then I managed to drag him back. I can’t celebrate fifth place too much, but it’s my best dry result of the year and puts us fifth in the points. Congratulations to Ben, who’s a fellow American. I wish it was me, but he and his team deserve it.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“I think we got a good team result today with both Vale and Nicky. With Valentino we went into the race with a different setup than what he used in practice, without being able to confirm it in the warm-up, which was made useless by the rain. It was a calculated risk for Valentino and the team, but it proved to be the right choice, as it paid off with a good result considering the problems in practice. Nicky also had a nice race, as it would have been really easy to make a mistake today. He’s doing a good job and working hard, as always, and he brought home some good points to put him fifth in the championship. We still have to work to improve because we want to take another step forward as soon as possible.”