Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished the Japanese Grand Prix in seventh and eighth places, respectively. The Italian rode at a consistent pace from start to finish, without suffering an excessive drop in performance near the end, but the gap to the leaders’ lap times was enough to prevent him from fighting for a better position.
Over the course of the weekend, Hayden never managed to find a satisfactory setup, and as a result he struggled to maintain a good rhythm in today’s race.
The Ducati Team now moves on to Malaysia, where next weekend will find them taking part in the second of three consecutive overseas races.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th
“I think we did the best that we could over the whole weekend. We worked well on the bike, and I had a good setting for the race today. Unfortunately, this is our potential at the moment, and our pace still isn’t at the same level as the others, especially in the early laps. Today I rode at the maximum for the whole race, I tried to catch Bradl, and I got closer near the end. I think we’ve found consistency since we’ve had the new frame and swingarm, but there’s still work to do. We still lose a lot on acceleration, where we’re not able to put all the horsepower to the ground because the tyre spins too much, especially exiting the slower corners. Anyway, we’ll try our best until the end and see how it goes.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th
“It wasn’t a great race for me. We were a little bit behind all weekend, but then this morning we thought we had made up some ground. In the race, though, I was having troubles getting the bike stopped, especially in the early laps. I lacked front feeling and was running wide, and although that improved as the race went on, I also had problems with vibration from the rear and didn’t have a very good pace. Normally our bike is really good in straight-line braking, so it’s a shame Vale and I struggled here, but anyway, it’s good to finish a race and have something to build on. Thanks to the team for their work and to my physiotherapist, Freddie Dente, for helping me to manage the race with a fracture in my wrist. We’ll try to regroup and look forward to Sepang.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“We certainly can’t be satisfied with the seventh and eighth places that we had today, but I still think that the team worked well over the course of the weekend, enabling Valentino to have a steady race. Now we must focus our efforts on improving the bike’s behaviour under acceleration, which is the area where we still have a big margin for improvement. Nicky had difficulties all weekend and never did find a setup that was well-suited for this track, which requires very good feeling on braking.”