Last weekend’s Iveco TT Assen race once again produced mixed fortunes for the Ducati Team, as Nicky Hayden finished sixth and Valentino Rossi suffered an unusual rear tyre issue.
Team Manager VittorianoGuareschi summed up the weekend’s proceedings: “It was a very difficult race, because with Valentino we had a big problem with the [rear] tyre. The race ultimately saw him make a stop in the pits to change tyre, which makes it impossible to have a good result. With Nicky we had a good race. We started well, yet he made a mistake on the first lap, but after, he had a good rhythm and closed the gap with the group and fought for fifth place. That’s not bad.”
A distinct positive highlighted by the Italian was a greater understanding of what the bike’s problems are and what needs to be done to change the team’s fortunes: “For us it [the race] was important because we understand better what we need for the future and we’re working on this for the next race.One of our problems is when the rear tyre [grip] drops down, we start to slide a lot and we loose performance. We need to improve in this area.”
Looking forward to the next race in Germany at the Sachsenring, the team knows it faces a whole new technical challenge again, as the circuit is significantly different to the ones it has visited this season so far. Guareschi says: “It is a completely different track. Last year was very difficult for us, but now the bike is a little bit better and we want to work on improving it. This is our target now.”
Despite his sixth place, Hayden still feels like there is room for improvement:“My bike felt pretty decent, and I got back in front of those guys. I was fighting with Crutchlow and Barberá. After Cal passed, Héctor made a big mistake in the chicane and I almost hit him. Valentino and some of the others had tyre problems, but mine hung in there better than some. A couple guys fell down, which helped me to get sixth place, but that’s racing. It hasn’t been an easy weekend, but the guys have really worked hard, and hopefully soon we can really do a good result.”
Rossi was left rueing what could have been, but felt that the first part of the race went well before he suffered his tyre issue: “It’s a shame about today because I started quite well. I was there, having a good race, and I think I could have had a decent result. I was fighting with Nicky, who had passed me, but he was a little bit slower and I was waiting for a good moment to attack him again. I could have finished sixth, which would have given me some points to help in the standings, but we had a big problem with the tyre about eleven laps from the end. I had to return to the garage to change it because it was impossible to continue, so I started again with the soft and finished the race. We’ll try again next week at the Sachsenring.”