The first day of practice for the GP de la Comunitat Valenciana repeated a script that has been seen on several occasions during the 2012 season: uncertain weather conditions, with a track that was wet in the morning and damp in the afternoon.
Nicky Hayden quickly came to terms with the conditions, posting the fastest time in the full-wet first session and the third-best in the nearly dry afternoon outing. Valentino Rossi was unsatisfied with the settings on which he started the day, so he and his team made some changes that showed promise in the afternoon and could be explored further in the case of more rain in the coming days.
Both Ducati Team riders approved of the resurfaced track, which is much smoother.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 3rd (1:37.389)
“Things went really well in the wet this morning. Since we switched to the new frame, I haven’t had the same feeling in the wet as before, and it was clear after the wet race in Malaysia that we had to improve that. Today the team did a good job with a change to the rear, and I was able to go quite fast and had good feeling. It’s nice to have that back. This afternoon, the track was patchy, and I just went out for a couple of laps at the end. They did a really good job with the surface, which is a lot smoother than before. We know our bike does better on smoother tracks, but we still have to see what it’s like in the dry here. Tomorrow will be really busy because we’ll have to take advantage of every bit of dry time possible.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th (1:38.115)
“They did a great job with the resurfacing of the track because many of the bumps are gone. Grip still isn’t fantastic, but that’s pretty normal, as it takes some time. Anyway, the first impression is generally good. In the water this morning, we weren’t ready with the setup, but we changed it and, in the few laps that I did at the beginning of the second session, I saw that it went much better. If it continues raining tomorrow, it would be interesting to continue working with that. Also, in the final minutes of the session, with the drying track and slick tyres, the feeling wasn’t bad, but I didn’t push too much because the conditions weren’t ideal. Tomorrow we’ll see what weather awaits us, and we’ll continue in this direction.”