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Valentino Rossi seventh at Indianapolis, Hayden questionable for Brno

Valentino Rossi had a difficult weekend at Indianapolis. In both the qualifying session and the race, he couldn’t manage to match his times from the cooler free-practice sessions, when he lapped at the pace of the second group.

 

Affected by the lack of grip that occurred just a few laps after the start, the Italian concluded the race a lonely seventh.

 

Nicky Hayden, after a qualifying crash in which he suffered a hard blow to the head and two small fractures to the second and third metacarpals of his right hand, had to watch the race from the garage. The American then returned home to nearby Kentucky, where in the course of the next two days he will decide whether or not to take part in the Czech Republic Grand Prix on Sunday.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th

“It was a very complicated weekend. We expected it a little bit because last year was also challenging, but there were also some positive signs these two days. In the morning practice sessions and also in today’s warm-up, I was able to ride a bit better, with a pace of around 1:40.5. In the race though, with the higher temperatures of the afternoon, the rear tyre started to slide a lot after just a few laps. The harder I tried to push, the more it slid, so I actually went slower. I tried to stay with the others but I closed the front twice, and I nearly crashed. At that point, I decided to make it to the finish without making mistakes. I’m pleased that we go directly to Brno next week because it’s a track that I like a lot and last year we had a decent race. Then we’ll also have a test where we’ll try to take a good step forward with the bike because there are only seven rounds until the end and we have to do some better races.”

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) DNS

“To miss any race is tough, but to miss my home GP is extremely difficult. Still, I realize that I had a pretty big one yesterday and was knocked out for quite a while, so to be here today more or less okay is positive. There’s no really big damage, although injuries to the right hand are always worse than the left. Even if I thought I could have ridden today, the doctors wouldn’t have cleared me because I was knocked out for so long. Concussions need to be taken seriously, so I don’t fault them for that. It was really difficult watching the race. It would have been tough today, but we were improving through the weekend, and I had a pretty decent pace. That’s how it goes sometimes. I’ll try to get healthy and come back as soon as possible.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“After just a few laps today, it became very difficult for Valentino to ride. He tried to overcome the problems but couldn’t manage it, and at that point he decided to take home seventh-place points. We’ll try to do better at Brno. Over the next couple of days, we’ll also know whether or not Nicky will be able to be there. He has two small fractures in his right hand, so he’ll undergo some additional exams to check whether it will be possible to ride or if it’s better to skip the Czech Republic and recover for Misano. Anyway, we’ll go there with the bikes and the full team.”

 

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Ducati concludes difficult weekend in Indianapolis

A lack of rear grip and some unfortunate luck made last weekend’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix a particularly challenging one for the Ducati Team. American rider Nicky Hayden, who was hoping to put on a good show in front of his home fans, suffered a heavy crash in Saturday’s qualifying, rendering him briefly unconscious and fracturing to the second and third metacarpals of his right hand. This meant he had to watch the race from the garage, as his teammate Valentino Rossi was trying to make the most of a lack of rear grip, ultimately finishing seventh.

 

Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi summed up the race: “For us it was a very difficult weekend. After the third free practice our problems started with Nicky’s crash as well as the problem with Valentino’s bike. We finished the race, but we suffered in the race with Valentino, because the bike became very difficult to ride for Vale. He tried to understand what the best way was to limit the problem, but there was no way. We’ll try to improve the bike in Brno.”

 

Following the race, focus had immediately shifted to Brno, with the biggest question being whether Hayden would be fit to contest in less than a week’s time. Guareschi added: “Nicky has two small fractures in his right hand. I think it will be difficult, but he will have further checks to understand if it’s possible or not to race in Brno. But we’ll go with the whole team and will prepare his bike, and we’ll wait.”

 

He also stated that a replacement rider is currently not in the picture: “I think it’s difficult because we have only four days, which is a very short time. And it’s very difficult to replace Nicky.”

 

Looking towards Brno, Guareschi is confident the team’s fortunes will turn around significantly: “For Valentino Brno is a good track. He has had good results in the past and has won a lot of times. I think it’s possible to have a good race, because also last year we had a good race. We’ll see.”

Rossi was understandably downbeat after the weekend, yet is relishing a return to Brno: “It was a very complicated weekend. We expected it a little bit because last year was also challenging, but there were also some positive signs these two days. In the morning practice sessions and also in today’s warm-up, I was able to ride a bit better, with a pace of around 1:40.5. In the race though, with the higher temperatures of the afternoon, the rear tyre started to slide a lot after just a few laps. The harder I tried to push, the more it slid, so I actually went slower. I tried to stay with the others but I closed the front twice, and I nearly crashed. At that point, I decided to make it to the finish without making mistakes. I’m pleased that we go directly to Brno next week because it’s a track that I like a lot and last year we had a decent race. Then we’ll also have a test where we’ll try to take a good step forward with the bike because there are only seven rounds until the end and we have to do some better races.”

 

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Difficult qualifying for Ducati Team, Hayden out of tomorrow’s GP

After a positive start to the day for Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, who were able to further reduce their gaps to the front during the third free-practice session, the Ducati Team experienced a difficult qualifying session.

 

Approximately ten minutes from the end of the session, Nicky Hayden crashed in Turn 14 while on a fast lap with the soft tyre. After an initial check at the track’s Medical Center, the American was transferred to Indianapolis’ Methodist Hospital, where additional examinations revealed two small, non-displaced fractures to the second and third metacarpal on his right hand. The results of the CAT were negative, and the American should be discharged this evening or tomorrow morning, but in any case he won’t take part in the Grand Prix.

 

Valentino Rossi was confident after the practice session that he would be able to lower his time again in qualifying, but he wasn’t ultimately able to improve on the time he had set in cooler conditions.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 11th (1:40.763)

“It’s a shame because this morning went pretty well. I was able to do some good laps both with the hard tyre and the soft, and in the end I wasn’t so far off, actually lapping on the pace of the second group. That made me optimistic, and I thought that I could go 1’39” in qualifying, but I wasn’t even able to match my time from free practice. I didn’t have rear grip, and the rear tyre was sliding a lot. On the last fast lap, I had a big risk in the same turn where Nicky crashed. This track has strange asphalt that has less grip than what we’re used to but that still wears the tyres. For that reason, we have tyres with stiffer carcases at our disposition here. We’ll try to make some changes for tomorrow in order to gain a bit more grip, and we’ll see what my race pace is.”

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Enel Ducati Team turns attention to the Brickyard

After an eventful summer break, where the Ducati Team and Valentino Rossi announced their split at the end of 2012, the Italian outfit is fully focussed on the upcoming Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix this weekend.

The infamous Brickyard, which has hosted MotoGP™ races in the past four years, will be a challenge for teams and riders alike, who not only have a very varied layout to deal with, but also some interesting surface changes. It is a counter-clockwise race, and puts tremendous strain on the left shoulder of the tyre, which is why Bridgestone will be providing asymmetrical tyres featuring harder rubber on the left side.


Jeremy Burgess, Rossi’s crew chief, explains the challenges that the team will face: “Indy’s an interesting track. It’s left hand – same as Laguna Seca. It’s got a fast straight, a lot of slow corners, and in particular it has some surface changes, so the track is difficult for a lot of riders. And the last sequence of corners coming onto the straight are very much to the left, so you put a lot of temperature into that side of the tyre, which can make it difficult to enter onto the straight well. So, the setting of the bike is quite difficult, or has been, for us in the past. So it’s quite interesting.”

The Australian also doesn’t believe that the now increased engine capacity will give any significant advantage or disadvantage: “I don’t think we’ll see much difference. The circuit at Indy is nothing special in terms of 800cc or 1000cc – the corners are very flat, because it’s laid out within the confines of the oval circuit of course. And that itself is interesting, but it’s a good circuit, and I enjoy going there.”

Rossi, despite his decision to leave, has pledged to do his upmost for the team before the end of the season: “This break served as an opportunity to make important decisions for the future, but now I want to return to thinking about the races because we want to improve, and during the weekend it’s important to focus completely on what we have to do on the track. Indianapolis isn’t one of my favourite circuits, although I do have a win there. It’s a particular track because it’s one of those that goes in the opposite direction, so the lines are a bit strange in many of the corners. It’s a tricky track, but we’ll try to do our best and have fun.”

Teammate Nicky Hayden, for whom this is the closest track to a home race, is hoping to do well in front of his local crowd: “Laguna was fun, but Indy is really my home GP, just across the state line from Kentucky. Hopefully we can do a good result. We struggled more at Laguna than I expected, but Indy is much faster, with more opportunities to open the throttle. It should be nice to ride that track on the 1000s, and it will be fun for the American fans to really get to see them in action. Last season, tyre wear was critical there, but hopefully the pavement will come in a bit better this year. I hope to be competitive starting on Friday, and I’ll definitely be disappointed if we don’t get the best result of the season so far.”

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