Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso took advantage of nearly ideal weather conditions today at Phillip Island Circuit to both qualify their Desmosedici GP13 race machines on row three for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix.
The American in particular had a good pace throughout the day, and his best lap earned him the eighth spot on the grid. Dovizioso didn’t manage to post a great time in the free-practice sessions and thus had to participate in Q1, but his time in Q2 was good enough to put him one spot behind his teammate.
Due to unexpectedly high rates of tyre wear on the new track surface, tomorrow’s race has been shortened by one lap to twenty-six, and a mandatory pit stop will be implemented so that riders can change bikes. Use of the hard rear tyre is obligatory for MotoGP entrants, and riders may go a maximum of fourteen laps per tyre.
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 8th (1:29.295)
“We’ve certainly been a lot closer than usual today, but I was definitely hoping to go faster than that in qualifying. I thought I might be able to get in the 28s, and I really should have, but I didn’t get in a great lap. I made a couple mistakes on my best lap, and Iannone stood me up in one corner and cost us both time. I think using the ‘flag-to-flag’ format is the right choice for tomorrow. Safety is of the utmost importance, but we’ve also got a responsibility to put on a show for the fans.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 9th (1:29.660)
“The gap is large but considering that we had to do Q1, I’m happy with how we managed the situation. I was able to transfer using the only tyre I had left and then to improve my time in Q2. There was a bit less wind today and riding was easier. We have the same gap as usual, but I’m pleased to have done those times. I could’ve more or less matched Nicky’s time, but I lost the rear in the last corner and nearly high-sided. I had to close the gas and lost at least three tenths. Tomorrow will be an unusual race. It will be the first time we do a ‘flag-to-flag’ format in dry conditions, but it’s the same for everyone. It’s not a problem for me, and I think it will be fun. Let’s hope the weather conditions are good.”