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Best dry race for Enel Ducati at Catalunya


With a weekend of dry track and favourable racing conditions, the Ducati Team had its best dry race so far this season at the Gran PremiAperol de Catalunya, as it continued to close the gap on the front-runners.

Valentino Rossi finished 17 seconds off the top in seventh place, while Nicky Hayden dropped off the pace slightly into ninth, after loosing feeling in his right hand.

Team Manager VittorianoGuareschi was pleased with the day’s proceedings: “We had the best race in dry conditions and we reduced the gap [to the front]. We worked well last week in Mugello [private test] because we introduced the new electronics package. This improved the driveability and I think this is why we were closer to the group in front of us. We do however need to improve the bike some more.”

 

Despite the improvement in pace, the Ducati Team is not resting on its laurels, as Guareschi outlines what is next on the agenda: “We have two important tests, here and in Aragón, and we want to improve the settings. We want to solve our under-steer problem and improve our understanding of the correct weight distribution. These are the areas we’ll be investigating.”

 

Rossi was also pleased with the team’s progress: “Today went pretty well, and in some ways, it was the best dry race of the year so far: I finished closer to the group in front of me, and the gap in lap times was about half a second, which is the smallest that we’ve had so far. Of course we’re still only talking about a seventh-place finish, but nonetheless we reached our current potential in the dry. Now we have two days of important testing, and we’ll try the aluminium swingarm again, along with some setup ideas in an effort to gain a bit more front grip, to help the bike to corner better. We hope to take another small step, because the riders who were ahead of me today weren’t ‘too far’ ahead.”

 

Nicky Hayden, who had shown top-Ducati pace all weekend, was disappointed that his physical condition affected his weekend: “It was very difficult for me because I started having a problem with my hand going to sleep. My pace was okay in the beginning, but after that group got away I really just tried to bring the bike home without crashing, since I couldn’t feel how hard I was braking. [In the tests] I think we can make some improvements.”

 

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Progress for Rossi, Hayden affected by problem with hand


After a warm-up session that was affected by mixed conditions, with just enough rain to render it useless, the Catalan Grand Prix took place in the dry, though with cooler temperatures than had marked the previous two days.
Valentino Rossi finished seventh, still far from the type of results for which both he and the Ducati Team are working so hard, but there were very promising signs in today’s lap times and in the gaps to the top positions, as the Italian ran at a competitive pace for much of the 25-lap race.
Hayden, ninth at the finish, was also fast in the early stages, only to be slowed when he lost feeling in his right hand.
The Ducati Team will remain in Barcelona tomorrow for an official one-day test, during which they’ll confirm the progress made over the weekend and carry out additional checks with the settings, chassis, and electronics. Another test will be held on Wednesday at the Aragon track.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th
“Today went pretty well, and in some ways, it was the best dry race of the year so far: I finished closer to the group in front of me, and the gap in lap times was about half a second, which is the smallest that we’ve had so far. Of course we’re still only talking about a seventh-place finish, but nonetheless we reached our current potential in the dry. At a certain point in the race, I thought I could catch and pass Bautista, who himself wasn’t far from Stoner and the others. Unfortunately, toward the end I lost performance from my rear tyre, which we tend to stress too much since I oversteer with it in the corners when the front needs some help. Now we have two days of important testing, and we’ll try the aluminium swingarm again, along with some setup ideas in an effort to gain a bit more front grip, to help the bike to corner better. We hope to take another small step, because the riders who were ahead of me today weren’t ‘too far’ ahead.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th
“It was very difficult for me because I started having a problem with my hand going to sleep. I felt it a little bit in qualifying yesterday, so we did some treatment last night with the team physio, but the problem returned in the race. I’ve had it happen a couple of other times in my career, and around here, with so much hard braking, I could hardly feel the brake lever or the throttle. On the straightaway, I could move my fingers and get some feeling back, but then it would return. My pace was okay in the beginning, but after that group got away I really just tried to bring the bike home without crashing, since I couldn’t feel how hard I was braking. Hopefully it won’t come up in the tests, because I think we can make some improvements.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“I’m satisfied with the work we did this weekend, and with the capability of the team, which let us make some real advances in today’s race. Following the Mugello test, we wanted to check some things that we had introduced there. The team was prepared to use the new electronics package, whereas the aluminium swingarm will require more testing. In today’s race, Valentino reduced the gap to the front to about a half-second per lap, which is still significant in absolute terms, but in any case it’s a step forward considering how big our disadvantage has been in the dry until now. Seventh place isn’t a result that either we or he can be satisfied with, but his times and his pace for much of the race were promising. Unfortunately, Nicky’s race was affected by a physical problem, but over the course of weekend he also did some good work that helped him to obtain his best qualifying position at this track since he’s been with Ducati, and that’s another positive sign. We’ll try the swingarm again tomorrow, along with some bike settings, continuing in the direction we’ve taken.”

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Ducati Team on third row for Catalan GP


Both Ducati Team riders will start from the third row of the grid tomorrow in the Catalan Grand Prix, with Nicky Hayden in the seventh spot and Valentino Rossi ninth.
The Italian said he was satisfied with the good setup work done on his GP12 for qualifying today, enabling him to lower his lap time by over a second compared to yesterday, and perhaps more importantly, to maintain a decent and consistent race pace.
Hayden found a good feeling in the third free practice session, and after making changes to adapt the bike to the higher temperature, he turned in a good performance in the afternoon.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:42.029)
“This morning I did a pretty decent lap time with a hard tyre and thought I could possibly get on the second row, but this afternoon, right from the beginning, I struggled to get the same feeling and had to change a couple of things. I was able to do an okay lap, but truthfully, I thought I could get into the 41s. We’ll start seventh tomorrow, which isn’t great, but the gap to the front is the smallest it’s been all year. We’ll certainly have to improve our consistency tomorrow, and race distance could be really tough for tyre wear, but maybe the temperatures will be cooler and help us.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:42.175)
“I’m pretty pleased because we improved the bike’s setup and we made the third row, which was our goal for today, even if I really lose a lot in the last part of the track, especially on entry in the last two corners. Anyway, we can also be pretty satisfied with our race pace because I was able to ride well and consistently, even on a used tyre. The forecasts say it could rain tomorrow, and of course we know that we can do well in the wet, although it could also be good for us even if we just get a bit cooler temperatures.”

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Ducati relishing Catalunya challenge


As the Ducati Team heads to the fifth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya, off the back of a stunning podium at the wet in Le Mans, Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jeremy Burgess is looking forward to the technical challenge the fast and flowing Catalunya circuit brings.

He comments: “For us it’s always been a pretty good track. From an engineering point of view I like to go to Catalunya, it’s got a very difficult turn 3 with a lot of temperature and a lot of spinning in the tyres, so you need a very strong tyre for Cataluyna.

“It has all sorts of things from slow corners to fast corners, and the fast corner on the straight, as we saw some years ago, created quite an exciting finish to the race with Valentino and Jorge [Lorenzo]. On the fast straight the bike will be very fast, and if the weather’s good there’s always a very good crowd so it’s always a good place.”

Burgess explains that at such a varied track it can be very difficult to get the balance right with regards to bike set-up: “A set up that the rider’s happy with is always important. We need a bike that turns well and a bike that gives, particularly in Catalunya, a lot of stability on the rear and lot of good grip for the long turn 3 and the longer corners coming back down onto the start finish straight. So it is quite difficult to get that balance right, and you always tend to be working at it. The tyres take a lot of work and a lot of load.”

The Circuit de Catalunya is one of Rossi’s favourites, having served as the scene for nine of his victories, and while Nicky Hayden has only achieved one podium finish at the track, he also appreciates its fast, open layout.

Rossi, who achieved his Ducati-best position of second amid treacherous conditions in France two weeks ago is positive about the weekend ahead: “Two Sundays ago, we got a nice result because we took advantage of the wet track, a condition in which we know we can be competitive, but we’re aware that we must continue improving in normal, dry conditions. The Catalunya circuit has always been one of my favourites, and although it’s hard to imagine another podium, we must still do our best to finish with the front riders.”

Nicky Hayden mirrors Burgess’ thoughts on the tyres’ edge grip: “Although I’ve struggled a bit at Catalunya the last few years, I do like the track, and it’s one of the calendar’s great GPs. It’s pretty wide, open and fast, and it’s really important to have good edge grip, especially in the last bit with all the long right-handers.”

Following the Catalunya Gran Prix, Ducati, along with other MotoGP teams will carry out a one-day test at the circuit on Monday 4th June.

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