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.”