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Ducati Team – Japanese GP – Race

After a weekend of continuously improving performances in the practice sessions, followed by a strong morning warm-up, Valentino Rossi wasn’t ultimately able to take advantage of the good work carried out on the GP11.1. The Italian crashed just a couple of corners into the race after he and Jorge Lorenzo made contact, which sent him into Ben Spies. When sliding in the gravel, he suffered a hard blow to a finger on his left hand. X-rays carried out after he returned to the garage didn’t reveal any fractures.

Nicky Hayden was fighting with Alvaro Bautista for fourth place and lapping at a very competitive pace when he entered Turn 1 too quickly and went off the track, losing several positions. He finished the race in seventh place.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th
“Our bike was pretty good this weekend. Even though I was only eighth fastest this morning, I was pretty consistent, and this weekend is really the first time I’ve been kind of competitive here. On the start, everybody flinched, and I almost got baited into jumping. Then I got touched by Vale on the exit of Turn 1 and went off the track and lost a lot of time. We were all racing, and it was normal for the first lap. I got into a pretty good rhythm, and when Casey came past me, I wanted to try to follow him past Bautista, but I came in way too hot and went off the track. It’s a shame, because with everybody making mistakes, I had a chance to get us a good result. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry to Ducati and everybody, because they worked so hard. Phillip Island is a track I like, so hopefully there we can do a decent race there.”

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) DNF
“It’s really a shame to be out of the race after two corners, especially after the progress that we made this weekend, and with the knowledge that we’d worked on the bike well. I was fourth in the morning warm-up, and it would have been possible to have a pace in the high 1:46 range. I also think our choice of tyres for the race—hard on the back and soft on the front—was correct. When you also consider the troubles that Stoner, Simoncelli and Dovizioso had, we could have fought for the podium, which would have been really nice for us. We were a little unlucky. Unfortunately, Lorenzo went onto the grass slightly in Turn 1, and in the next turn he moved suddenly to get his trajectory right. He didn’t see me because I was slightly behind. When he touched me, it pushed me into Spies, who touched my front brake lever. It was normal racing contact, but I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyway, we did a good job this weekend, and we were more competitive than usual. It’s a challenging time for us, but we hope we’re on the right path.”

Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“Sundays like this are difficult, but anyway, we have to look at the positives from the weekend. We worked very well with Valentino and Nicky over all three days, and we were ready to have a nice race. Vale rode quite well this morning in the warm-up. He was happy with the setup, and confident that he could fight for a good position. Unfortunately, he and Lorenzo immediately made contact. It happens, but we’re really disappointed. Nicky was riding at a fast pace and was in a battle for fourth place when he made a small mistake that cost him dearly. He finished seventh, a result that certainly doesn’t show the potential that our team had this weekend, but we’ll try to take advantage in the last races of the season.”