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Ducati Team – USA GP – Qualifying Practice

Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi will start from the third row of the starting grid for the Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. Today the Italian posted the seventh-best time aboard the Desmosedici GP11.1, equaling his best qualifying position of the season from Catalunya, while Hayden took the ninth spot with the GP11.

Despite being slightly quicker aboard the new Desmosedici version yesterday, the American decided to use the standard iteration today, as he is more familiar with it. He will also campaign his home race with that bike tomorrow.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th (1:22.235)
“This morning we made a change to the balance that helped me to find more grip with the soft tyre, as well as a feeling that was generally better. In the afternoon though, with the warmer temperature and the hard tyre, I didn’t have the same performance and feeling. During the session we were able to change the settings again and make a small step, and when we put on the soft, we did a time that was good enough for the third row. Seventh place actually equals my best qualifying spot of the season. That was our goal, to be able to start further forward than we have lately, but for the race we must improve our pace again with the hard tyres because it’s a little too difficult now and the rear is sliding a lot. We’re focused and we’re working very hard so we’ll see tomorrow if we can take another step forward.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:22.271)
“We went back to the standard bike today. I was a little faster on the new one yesterday, but even though it has more potential and I like the gearbox, I don’t yet have a great feel for where its limit is. For now, we prefer to go with what we know. This morning I was pretty strong and this afternoon I was consistently in the low-’22 range. I did two longer runs and came in to put in a new soft tyre and was ready to go for it. I felt good and was looking forward to going into qualifying mode. I wasn’t pushing really hard on the out-lap, but you have to push this bike to load the front, and in Rainey Curve I skipped across the bumps and went down. It’s a shame, because we had a chance to do our best qualifying of the year. I went out on the other bike, but the front tyre was 30 laps old. The team have worked like dogs switching back and forth between bikes. Now they’ll have another long night, but I’ll try to make up for it tomorrow.”