Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso got off to a good start on American soil, posting the third-best time in free practice on day one of the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. The Italian exclusively used the updated frame, finishing the day with a time of 1:22.284, and just two tenths of a second from first-place Marc Marquez.
His teammate Nicky Hayden was less satisfied. Riding the standard version of the Desmosedici GP13 at his home GP, the Kentuckian concluded the first day in ninth place, with a relatively decent time gap of seven tenths.
Tomorrow will see the riders taking part in the final free-practice sessions and qualifying, with the race set for 2:00 p.m. local time on Sunday.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 3rd (1:22.284)
“It’s always nice to see your name up high on the monitors! I had Marquez as a distant reference point, but the lap was really good. Anyway, I have the sensation that we’re closer than at the other tracks, and although Laguna is quite unusual, our GP13 is working a bit better here. Our pace isn’t bad, but that’s the case for many of the riders, so we’ll have to see tomorrow. It’s too early to make predictions, but I’m pleased with how we started today. I only rode with the new frame, and the difference is really minimal, although I can’t say exactly because I didn’t do a comparison. I don’t think there are any downsides, so we’ll continue with it.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 9th (1:22.733)
“It’s awesome to be at Laguna with all the support from the fans here, but of course I wish I were going a bit better. I’m pushing the front a lot, especially over the bumpy parts. I can’t finish the corner well and I’m hurting on acceleration. The gap to the front isn’t too big, but the position isn’t very good. I need to improve the rhythm. This track’s tight and the times are close, so it’s tough. Dovi seems to have had some positive results with the updated frame. If it’s better on steering, that’s important here because of the flat corners. Anyway, if we can improve the turning a bit, I think we should be able to be a lot more competitive tomorrow.”