The qualifying session for the French Grand Prix saw Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finish with the ninth- and tenth-best times, respectively. The Italian had a decent session, working well with his crew and steadily improving his bike’s setup, as well as his pace with hard tyres. The final minutes, when it was time to mount the softer tyres, were less effective, however, because he wasn’t able to mantain the second row despite improving his performance.
Nicky Hayden, who had posted the fourth-best time on Friday and was fifth-best this morning, went long in a corner during what had until then been a very fast lap, and he wasn’t subsequently able to improve.
Valentino Rossi (Enel Ducati Team) 9th, 1:34.206
“Naturally, we’re not happy with our position: it’s not good, because I had hoped to start from the second row. I’m pleased with the way we worked, though, as well as with how I rode, because I was finally able to ride well. We solved some problems, and we understood that other aspects of the setup weren’t going in the right direction, so we changed them. I think this was our best qualifying session since I’ve been at Ducati, because with just a few minutes left, I was inside sixth place. Unfortunately, when the moment to use the softer tyre comes, we don’t take a big enough step, so tomorrow I’ll have to start from the third row, behind some riders who had a slower pace. We have a couple more ideas to try in the warm-up though, and if they work, we can do better in the race.
Nicky Hayden (Enel Ducati Team) 10th, 1:34.227
“This morning wasn’t bad, but I hoped for more in qualifying, for sure. The bike was working quite well at the pace I’ve been running, but when I tried to cut those last couple of tenths, it was moving around a lot. It’s unfortunate after being fourth yesterday and fifth this morning. I was hoping to be up a few spots, but I don’t really have a lot of excuses. I had a couple of good, clear laps, but I just didn’t put down the lap time I needed to. I’m starting tenth, and as bad as that sounds, it’s my best grid spot of the year. Anyway, tomorrow is what counts.”