Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden set the seventh- and eighth-best times, respectively, in qualifying for the Catalan Grand Prix, and both riders will start from the third row of the grid tomorrow.
The sessions took place in nice weather conditions, which allowed the two Ducati Marlboro Team riders to work well along with their respective crews, and to improve the setup of the GP11. In qualifying, both Rossi and Hayden used new engines with the latest technical updates from the racing department.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 7th, 1:43.223
“This afternoon went a little better, although I can’t be happy with the third row. Crutchlow took the second row from us in the end, but it was my fault because if had ridden better on my final lap, I could have cut a couple of tenths from my time, which would have put me in sixth. Anyway, we improved the bike’s settings. The three free-practice sessions were very difficult, and I even had a fall this morning, but fortunately I didn’t hurt myself. We found the key to the problem in qualifying though, and we made some setup changes that helped us to get a little closer to the front—not close enough of course, but our pace with hard tyres isn’t bad. We also decided to use the updated engine, which I prefer, as the bike is more controllable on acceleration.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 8th, 1:43.228
“I know eighth isn’t great, but it’s my best qualifying session of the year. At least we’re starting a little closer to the front, which is a good sign. The second row was right there in front of us—a real possibility today. No excuses, though; I had clear laps but just couldn’t quite get down to the time I needed. It’s obviously not a perfect situation for the race, but I would say we’re a little bit closer than we have been. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be tough, but hopefully I can get a good start and get in there and mix it up.”