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Oil leak and tyre woes hinder Ducat’s Brno charge

At last weekend’s bwin Grand Prix Ceské republiky in Brno, promising signs for the Ducati Team during practice did not materialise in the race as an oil leak and excessive rear tyre wear hindered Valentino Rossi’s charge.

 

His team manager Vittoriano Guareschi sums up the weekend, and looks forward to what should be a very productive break before the next race at Misano: “It was a strange weekend for us, because we started the weekend very well. We did a good job with the team and the bike was working very well, but unfortunately this was only up until the race. In the race we had a problem with the rear tyre. The grip dropped very quickly, and after five or seven laps Valentino had a lot of problems and was in danger of not finishing the race.”

 

“We have a test next week in Misano. The first reason is to improve the bike for the next race which will be in Misano, and also because we have new stuff to test. We want to understand what happens after changing the weight distribution, because we want to improve our bike as we finish the season. And this is a good opportunity for Vale and the team.”

 

Injured Nicky Hayden did not take part in the Brno race, nor will he partake in the mid-week tests, yet Guareschi remains confident of the American’s return for the next race: “Nicky will be with us in Misano. I don’t know, maybe he’s not 100 per cent in the race, but we want to have a good race with Nicky. For Nicky it’s not a good luck track, because in the last three years he hasn’t finished the race. And it’s important to finish the race in a good position to end the championship in a good way.”

 

For Rossi, Misano is a particularly important race in front of his home crowd, and Guareschi is optimistic about the Italian rider’s chances: “It’s the home race for Vale. He’s very happy that we have this test before the race to improve the bike, because he wants to get a good result. We think it’s possible, as the shape is good for our bike and also for Valentino. I think it will be possible.”

 

Rossi, who was left wondering what could have been after Brno, is hoping that the tests can help turn his fortunes around for the next part of the season: “I started well and the early laps weren’t bad, although the bike started to lose oil right from the beginning. It went on the footrests and the brake- and shift levers, which bothered me, as my feet were slipping everywhere. I probably could have done a bit better without that inconvenience, and maybe I would have finished close to Dovizioso. Anyway, I also had to slow down because the rear tyre began sliding too much after some laps, which has been our problem. Now we’ll see in the test at Misano in two days if we can manage to find something to help us in the last races.”

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Seventh place for Valentino Rossi at Brno

Following a very promising warm-up session on a wet track, Valentino Rossi’s race in the Czech Republic proved to be more difficult than anticipated. An oil leak, which didn’t hurt engine performance, nonetheless certainly affected riding conditions for the Italian. When he also suffered a loss of tyre grip, he was forced to slow and eventually finished seventh.

 

The Ducati Team will now travel to the Misano circuit, where Valentino will participate in a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday. His teammate Nicky Hayden will miss the test while he recuperates in the United States, but he is expected to return for the Grand Prix of San Marino.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th

“I started well and the early laps weren’t bad, although the bike started to lose oil right from the beginning. It went on the footrests and the brake- and shift levers, which bothered me, as my feet were slipping everywhere. I probably could have done a bit better without that inconvenience, and maybe I would have finished close to Dovizioso. Anyway, I also had to slow down because the rear tyre began sliding too much after some laps, which has been our problem. Now we’ll see in the test at Misano in two days if we can manage to find something to help us in the last races.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“The weekend started well. We improved steadily in every session, but the race didn’t play out positively for us. After the early laps, the bike suffered a loss of grip with the rear tyre, and Valentino lost contact with the leaders. As for the oil leak, we analysed the engine data and we have confirmed that there’s nothing unusual and that engine performance wasn’t affected. It certainly made riding more difficult because it made the footrests very slippery. We have a two-day test with Valentino at Misano on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we’ll work primarily on the chassis.”

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Good qualifying session for Valentino Rossi, second row at Brno

Under a grey sky, with a constant threat of rain that never materialized during the sessions, Valentino Rossi made the second row, enjoying his best qualifying performance of the season so far.

 

In addition to posting the sixth-best time overall, the Italian has steadily improved his own performance over the course of the weekend, riding consistently and at a good pace in every session.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th (1:56.735)

“Since Friday morning, things have gone better here at Brno. We’ve managed to be faster and more competitive than normal and, most importantly, to work on the bike well, improving session by session. This afternoon we managed to do a good ‘time attack,’ so we’re generally pretty pleased. It’s important that we’ll be able to start from the second row in the race because it makes things a little easier. The times in our group are very close, but we’ll have to see what conditions we’ll have tomorrow and what our race pace will be. Anyway, I like the track a lot, and if we can manage to perfect a couple more details with the setup, we can try and have some fun.”

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Ducati ready for fast and flowing Brno

The Ducati Team head to this weekend’s bwin Grand Prix Ceské Republiky at Brno with a sense of optimism, yet will sadly only be at half strength with American Nicky Hayden being ruled out of this weekend’s race due to the broken bones in his right hand sustained in a crash last weekend in Indianapolis.

 

Nonetheless, his crew chief Juan Martínez outlines the task that the team’s sole rider, Valentino Rossi, will face this weekend: “Brno is quite a wide racetrack, so this allows the machines to have quite wide lines and carry a lot of speed through the corners. This should be good for the spectators, because you can see so many passes there. Once you approach turn three and four you have so many different lines; you normally have three or four riders with different braking points on a different line, so there is usually lots of crossing. Brno is quite a nice track.”

 

The Italian outfit, which struggled with rear tyre grip at the often tight and twisty Indianapolis circuit, will be buoyed by the fact that Brno’s characteristics allow more use of the Desmosedici’s high power output, as well as its strong points with regards to handling. Martínez said: “For us it’s very important to use the engine well there, because you have an uphill close to the last part of the race track, so the engine becomes very important for the end of the race. For us Brno has normally been good. Normally our machines struggle quite a bit on the tight corners, and Brno doesn’t have that, so normally it’s a racetrack where we’re expecting to have a good result there.”

 

Rossi, who has won at the track seven times in his career so far is looking forward to returning to a track he enjoys: “Laguna and Indy were two very difficult races, so I’m happy that we race again in just a few days, at Brno. The next two weeks will be very important for the rest of the season. I expect to do better in the Czech Republic, as it’s a track that I like and that is more ‘normal.’ I had a pretty good dry race there last year with Ducati, also in terms of the gap to the front. Then next week we’ll have two days of testing at Misano, where we’ll have some new things to try that I hope will help us to be faster in the last part of the season.”

 

Hayden, who is currently in the U.S., recovering from his injuries, hopes to be back again for the Misano round on the 16th September, but in the meantime is naturally disappointed at missing the race: “It’s tough to miss another race. I don’t have big problems, but my hand is still very swollen and I don’t have much strength, and of course right-hand injuries are worse for motorcycle racers. I would have been at far less than 100 per cent, and if I used too much force or crashed again, I could displace the breaks and possibly be in big trouble. As much as the racer in me doesn’t like staying at home and missing track time and points, I need to listen to the experts and try to heal up and get ready for Misano. That’s an important race for me and for Ducati, and I’ll be doing all the rehab to come back as fit as possible. I don’t like it, but it’s the right thing to do.”

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