Free-practice for the Spanish Grand Prix kicked off today at the Circuito de Jerez, where Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso posted the eighth- and twelfth-best times, respectively, on the day.
The American is dealing with a tender right wrist, its recuperation having been more problematic than was hoped following a minor operation in March. He nonetheless managed to set the sixth-best time in the morning session aboard his Desmosedici GP13, and although he wasn’t as strong in FP2’s warmer conditions, he only slipped two spots in the combined times. Dovizioso was tenth-best in the first session, and although he improved his time by .060 seconds in the afternoon, it was only good enough for twelfth overall.
Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, participating in his first of three wildcard rides planned for this season, had a respectable first day back in the MotoGP paddock, posting the twelfth-best time in FP1 and finishing the day in thirteenth place.
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 8th (1:40.722)
“We used a similar setup to what we had here at the test, with a few modifications that we’ve made in the last two races. In the morning, I felt a little better than I had in the test, and my pace was okay. Then I suffered a lot on the warmer track this afternoon, especially with edge grip, which really affected the turning. The bike was pushing wide in the fast corners, which are so important. I’m also having a problem with my wrist; between Qatar and Austin, I developed some tendinitis and a lot of swelling in the joint. It was manageable in Austin, but it’s worse here, which makes this weekend even more challenging than it already was. Still, if we can improve the bike in a couple of the key corners, we can be much closer.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 12th (1:40.884)
“It was really difficult this afternoon, and I’m not completely sure why. The grip was much worse for all the Ducati riders, and it was much harder for me to be precise and stay on my lines. We must understand if we can improve that sensation through the setup, but this is the bike and I just have to adapt. I’m trying to stay calm and work in order to have a good session tomorrow morning.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 13th (1:40.902)
“It was a positive day in the sense that I’m back doing what I like most—competing! There’s work to be done because I’m still losing time in some sectors, but I’m satisfied overall because I haven’t raced since November. Tomorrow we’ll try to continue to dial in the GP13 because this is a new package in terms of frame, swingarm and engine. We’re trying to improve everything, take another step, and get things ready for the race. I hope to pay Ducati back for the faith they’ve placed in me, and I really want to thank them for this opportunity.”