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Overseas trip continues for Ducati Team

It is with mixed feelings that the MotoGP tour heads from Japan to Malaysia for the second of three overseas races in three weeks. On the one hand, Sepang International Circuit, which the teams also visit for off-season testing, is a sort of home away from home for the championship, a popular, diverse track in a warm and tropical locale. On the other hand, it’s impossible to forget that it was the site of Marco Simoncelli’s tragic accident one year ago. Those in the MotoGP paddock will gather on Thursday afternoon to pay homage to the Italian, who remains very close to the hearts of everyone in the racing world.

 

Only one-sixth of the season now remains, and the Ducati Team hopes to improve the performance of the Desmosedici during these final three races. Compared to recent rounds, Malaysia, where the team has tallied three victories over the years, will offer riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden the additional challenge of high air and track temperatures, which will test the endurance of riders and tyres alike.

 

VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team

“We’ll see what awaits us at Sepang, because we didn’t do very well there during the winter tests. Still, many months have passed since then, and now with the new frame and swingarm, the bike is better. The race and the whole weekend will certainly be very difficult because of the high temperatures, which present a challenge for both the bike and the riders. That said, it’s obviously not our first time, and we know what to expect. We’ll try to do our best.”

 

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team

“Motegi is behind us, and hopefully Malaysia we can do a better result and have a better weekend. We need to be able to start better on Friday. We do have a few new parts to try this weekend that may help, and hopefully my wrist will be stronger now that it’s been three weeks since I hurt it. The track has less downhill braking, so it might not cause me as much pain as it did last weekend. The season is really getting close to the end, and we need to try our best to do a couple of good results before it’s over.”

 

VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager

“We come to Malaysia expecting a challenging weekend due to the high temperatures, because as always, heat tests the riders’ conditioning while also affecting the bike’s setup. Technically speaking, it’s a track where, apart from a slow hairpin, there are no stop-and-go sections like those at Motegi, where we suffered on acceleration and on the exits from the tight corners. There are two long straightaways where we can take advantage of our engine’s horsepower. It will be important to preserve the tyres by finding a setup that enables us to have a steady performance for the entire race. It’s something that we’ve been able to do in recent races but that will be more difficult here at Sepang because of the high temperatures.”

 

 

SEPANG CIRCUIT RECORDS

 

Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2007), 2:02.108 – 163.566 Km/h (101.635 mph)

Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2009), 2:00.518 – 165.724 Km/h (102.976 mph)

Circuit Length: 5.548 km (3.447 miles)

2012 MotoGP Race: 20 laps (110.960 km/68.947 mi)

2012 MotoGP Schedule: 4:00 p.m. Local Time

 

2011 PODIUM: N/A

2011 POLE: Dani Pedrosa (Honda), 2:01.462

 

DUCATI TEAM’S BEST RESULTS AT SEPANG

2011: N/A

2010: 6th (Hayden)

2009: 1st (Stoner)

2008: 6th (Stoner)

2007: 1st (Stoner)

2006: 2nd (Capirossi)

2005: 1st (Capirossi)

2004: 6th (Capirossi)

2003: 6th (Capirossi)

 

DUCATI TEAM – RIDER INFO

VALENTINO ROSSI

Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12

Race number: 46

Age: 33 (born in Pesaro 16 February 1979)

Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)

GPs: 273 (213 x MotoGP, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)

First GP: Malaysian GP, 1996 (125cc)

Number of wins: 105 (79 x MotoGP, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)

First GP win: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)

Poles: 59 (49 x MotoGP, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)

First Pole: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)

World Titles: 9 (6 x MotoGP, 1 x 500cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc)

 

Rossi’s MotoGP track record at Sepang

2011: Grid, 9th; Race, N/A

2010: Grid, 6th; Race, 1st

2009: Grid, 1st; Race, 3rd

2008: Grid, 2nd; Race, 1st

2007: Grid, 9th; Race, 5th

2006: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st

2005: Grid, 7th; Race, 2nd

2004: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st

2003: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st

2002: Grid, 8th; Race, 2nd

2001: Grid, 2nd; Race, 1st

2000: Grid, 7th; Race, DNF

 

Rossi’s 250 track record at Sepang

1999: Grid, 1st; Race, 5th

 

NICKY HAYDEN

Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12

Race number: 69

Age: 31 (born 30 July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)

Residence: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA

Number of GPs: 164 (164 x MotoGP)

First GP: Japanese GP, 2003 (MotoGP)

Number of wins: 3 (3 x MotoGP)

First GP win: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)

Poles: 5 (5 x MotoGP)

First Pole: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)

World Titles: 1 (MotoGP, 2006)

 

Hayden’s MotoGP track record at Sepang

2011: Grid, 6th; Race, N/A

2010: Grid, 2nd; Race, 6th

2009: Grid, 7th; Race, 5th

2008: Grid, 4th; Race, 4th

2007: Grid, 6th; Race, 9th

2006: Grid, 2th; Race, 4th

2005: Grid, 6th; Race, 4th

2004: Grid, 6th; Race, 4th

2003: Grid, 9th; Race, 4th

 

 

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Rossi Seventh, Hayden eighth in Japanese GP

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished the Japanese Grand Prix in seventh and eighth places, respectively. The Italian rode at a consistent pace from start to finish, without suffering an excessive drop in performance near the end, but the gap to the leaders’ lap times was enough to prevent him from fighting for a better position.

 

Over the course of the weekend, Hayden never managed to find a satisfactory setup, and as a result he struggled to maintain a good rhythm in today’s race.

 

The Ducati Team now moves on to Malaysia, where next weekend will find them taking part in the second of three consecutive overseas races.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th

“I think we did the best that we could over the whole weekend. We worked well on the bike, and I had a good setting for the race today. Unfortunately, this is our potential at the moment, and our pace still isn’t at the same level as the others, especially in the early laps. Today I rode at the maximum for the whole race, I tried to catch Bradl, and I got closer near the end. I think we’ve found consistency since we’ve had the new frame and swingarm, but there’s still work to do. We still lose a lot on acceleration, where we’re not able to put all the horsepower to the ground because the tyre spins too much, especially exiting the slower corners. Anyway, we’ll try our best until the end and see how it goes.”

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th

“It wasn’t a great race for me. We were a little bit behind all weekend, but then this morning we thought we had made up some ground. In the race, though, I was having troubles getting the bike stopped, especially in the early laps. I lacked front feeling and was running wide, and although that improved as the race went on, I also had problems with vibration from the rear and didn’t have a very good pace. Normally our bike is really good in straight-line braking, so it’s a shame Vale and I struggled here, but anyway, it’s good to finish a race and have something to build on. Thanks to the team for their work and to my physiotherapist, Freddie Dente, for helping me to manage the race with a fracture in my wrist. We’ll try to regroup and look forward to Sepang.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“We certainly can’t be satisfied with the seventh and eighth places that we had today, but I still think that the team worked well over the course of the weekend, enabling Valentino to have a steady race. Now we must focus our efforts on improving the bike’s behaviour under acceleration, which is the area where we still have a big margin for improvement. Nicky had difficulties all weekend and never did find a setup that was well-suited for this track, which requires very good feeling on braking.”

 

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Third row for Rossi at Motegi, Hayden tenth

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will start tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix from the third and fourth rows of the starting grid, respectively.

 

In today’s qualifying session, both riders improved their performance compared to the free practices, but while the Italian was relatively satisfied with the work carried out over the course of the four sessions, the American had hoped to find a better setup.

 

In tomorrow’s morning warm-up session, Rossi will look for a few final setting refinements, while Hayden will try to make some changes in order to improve his consistency.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:45.976)

“The position, ninth place, certainly isn’t the greatest, as I had hoped to start from the second row. Still, I think that we worked well. We improved in every session, and again in qualifying today we made good progress. 1:45.9 is a nice time, half a second faster than last year, even though it wasn’t enough to be further forward. Anyway, we managed to lap at a decent pace and more consistently, and that’s positive. Tomorrow we’ll see if it will be enough and if we’ll be able to move up some positions. We’ll also have to decide tomorrow which tyre to use, depending on what the temperature is.”

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th (1:46.461)

“Today didn’t really go any easier than yesterday. I had some problems at the start of qualifying and couldn’t get a good rhythm, but once I started putting the soft tyres in, the grip improved and the bike felt better and better. Then at the end, I had a lot of front chatter that was holding me back, including on my best lap, and there were a lot of waving yellow flags on my last run that didn’t help. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get in a good lap, and I didn’t have a good rhythm either. Still, the team is working hard and hopefully tomorrow we can improve and try to do a decent race.”

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Enel Ducati senses turnaround as it descends on Motegi

The last MotoGP™ race in Aragón may have given the Ducati Team little to smile about, yetthe Italian outfit arrives at Motegi for the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in an upbeat mood.

 

Jeremy Burgess, Valentino Rossi’s crew chief, outlines the characteristics of the track: “Motegi is very interesting. It’s a lot different to most tracks; most of it’s confined within a small area. It has a lot of very hard acceleration and hard braking, so the guys accelerate up through the gearbox fairly hard. It’s not a particularly long track, but it has elevation up and down. In general I think everybody quite enjoys it.”

 

Speaking about the team’s chances and Rossi’s unfortunate crash at the track last year, the Australian says: “We didn’t get much of a chance last year. We were taken down in the third corner, but up until that point the bike had been going fairly well. The Ducati has a strong engine and for those acceleration areas this is particularly important. If the weather is good and we can maximise our potential with the braking I think we could be in for a good race in Motegi.”

 

Rossi, a four-time winner at the track in the premier-class, is also not dwelling on the past and thinks the team can get a good result there:“I like Motegi a lot. It’s a nice track with good grip, and I have a positive memory of last year. We steadily improved the bike’s setup over the course of the weekend, and I think I could have had a good race if I hadn’t crashed on the first lap. At the moment, we’re still missing a couple of tenths with our pace to think of the podium, but at the last two races, we were still able to ride at a good, constant rhythm until the end, which is positive. At Motegi we’ll try to continue working in this direction and to take advantage of the Ducati’s potential, which is usually very high at this track.”

 

Nicky Hayden, who had initially thought that he escaped his big crash at Aragón unhurt, has since learnt of a fracture in his right radius. The American is however confident that this should not affect him hugely: “It’s the first race of three in a row, and it’s really important. I thought I had escaped unscathed from the crash at Aragón, but unfortunately it looks like I picked up another injury. When I got home, my right hand was bothering me a bit, so I went for an X-ray and CT scan, and it turns out I have a fracture in my right radius. It’s definitely not the best situation, but as it’s not too painful and I have pretty good grip strength, I’m hopeful that it won’t cause too many problems this weekend. Racing’s full of ups and downs. We’ll try to ride this one out and hopefully get a decent result in Japan to get a little momentum going and get some confidence back.”

 

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