The Ducati Team experienced an uphill start to the final race weekend of the year, with Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden finishing the first two free-practice sessions for the GP de la Comunitat Valenciana ninth and tenth, respectively, in the combined times.
In the perfect weather conditions of the morning session, Hayden and Dovizioso were ninth and tenth, and although they occupied the same positions in the afternoon session, they were in the opposite order. In preparation for tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying sessions, both riders will work with their teams in an effort to improve the turning of their Desmosedici GP13 race machines, particularly in the first and last sectors.
After having sat out the last few rounds to focus on his Ducati Test Team duties, Michele Pirro is back in the MotoGP paddock this weekend, this time in another appearance as a wildcard rider. The Italian was twelfth best aboard the test team’s Desmosedici.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 9th (1:32.363)
“The track surface is still really nice, but our normal limits remain. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for us to make our bike turn like the others can, so we’re limited and aren’t able to get close to the other factory riders. We’re still too slow mid-corner. Regarding the tyres, the soft is too soft on the right, and although there aren’t many turns in that direction, it still wears too quickly. With this temperature, I think we’ll have to go with the hard, although it doesn’t have much grip and is a bit difficult to manage.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 10th (1:32.395)
“The track surface has held up really well from last year and is in great shape, and although the wind made things a bit difficult in the afternoon, that’s the same for everyone. Our first couple of exits this morning were decent, but we haven’t improved enough since then, with either the bike or myself. I’m okay in splits 2 and 3, but the first and last ones are giving me some problems. We need to get the bike to brake and turn better, and we’ll keep trying tomorrow to put ourselves in a better position for Sunday.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 12th (1:32.756)
“It’s nice to be back at a race after two months, so thanks to Ducati for the opportunity to do this again. It took me a few laps to get used to it again this morning, as we haven’t had any tests here. My bike doesn’t have any major updates, so it’s more or less the base for what we used in my last race. Now we’ll try to understand what to do for tomorrow to make further improvements, but anyway, I’m pleased that my gap to the other Ducati riders is around two tenths, which means my level is still good.”