The day-one free-practice sessions for Round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix, was marked by strong winds, but with blue skies and springtime temperatures, the riders were able to set fast times on the resurfaced track.
Despite the wind, Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso worked well over the course of the two sessions, lowering their times slightly in the afternoon, and they were relatively pleased with their progress. At day’s end, the American was in ninth place on the time sheets, with his teammate one tenth of a second behind in tenth.
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 9th (1:30.609)
“I’ve got to say, the new surface is really good. The grip is good and there aren’t really any seams. Thanks to the organizers because it’s much more of a joy to ride with more grip and without the bumps. I could certainly do without the wind, which really made things tough, but that’s the same for everybody and we’ve just got to deal with the situation. Things didn’t start too badly this morning apart from losing a bit of time in the box due to a small problem with a sensor. We started this afternoon with the same set of tyres and got well into race distance, and the drop in performance wasn’t too bad. I need to get a bit faster in the fast corners. The GP13 isn’t too bad here, but truthfully, we expected to be a bit closer than we are.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 10th (1:30.754)
“First of all, the weather today is much nicer than yesterday, and that’s not always the case here. It’s just that the wind is really strong, and that makes things very difficult on a MotoGP bike. In some corners, the side winds blow the front end out a bit. Otherwise, I’m not bad. The new asphalt is nice, with fewer bumps. The wind is the big problem for everyone—maybe a bit more difficult to manage for us—but my times aren’t bad. We worked hard to make the bike work in these conditions because I can’t open the gas when I’d like in some corners, so the problems are different than at other tracks. We made some unusual changes to the setup, things that we do here in Australia, but it’s not enough at the moment. We’ll try to improve tomorrow.”