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Mixed fortunes for Ducati in Assen


Last weekend’s Iveco TT Assen race once again produced mixed fortunes for the Ducati Team, as Nicky Hayden finished sixth and Valentino Rossi suffered an unusual rear tyre issue.

Team Manager VittorianoGuareschi summed up the weekend’s proceedings: “It was a very difficult race, because with Valentino we had a big problem with the [rear] tyre. The race ultimately saw him make a stop in the pits to change tyre, which makes it impossible to have a good result. With Nicky we had a good race. We started well, yet he made a mistake on the first lap, but after, he had a good rhythm and closed the gap with the group and fought for fifth place. That’s not bad.”

A distinct positive highlighted by the Italian was a greater understanding of what the bike’s problems are and what needs to be done to change the team’s fortunes: “For us it [the race] was important because we understand better what we need for the future and we’re working on this for the next race.One of our problems is when the rear tyre [grip] drops down, we start to slide a lot and we loose performance. We need to improve in this area.”

Looking forward to the next race in Germany at the Sachsenring, the team knows it faces a whole new technical challenge again, as the circuit is significantly different to the ones it has visited this season so far. Guareschi says: “It is a completely different track. Last year was very difficult for us, but now the bike is a little bit better and we want to work on improving it. This is our target now.”

Despite his sixth place, Hayden still feels like there is room for improvement:“My bike felt pretty decent, and I got back in front of those guys. I was fighting with Crutchlow and Barberá. After Cal passed, Héctor made a big mistake in the chicane and I almost hit him. Valentino and some of the others had tyre problems, but mine hung in there better than some. A couple guys fell down, which helped me to get sixth place, but that’s racing. It hasn’t been an easy weekend, but the guys have really worked hard, and hopefully soon we can really do a good result.”

Rossi was left rueing what could have been, but felt that the first part of the race went well before he suffered his tyre issue: “It’s a shame about today because I started quite well. I was there, having a good race, and I think I could have had a decent result. I was fighting with Nicky, who had passed me, but he was a little bit slower and I was waiting for a good moment to attack him again. I could have finished sixth, which would have given me some points to help in the standings, but we had a big problem with the tyre about eleven laps from the end. I had to return to the garage to change it because it was impossible to continue, so I started again with the soft and finished the race. We’ll try again next week at the Sachsenring.”

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Hayden sixth at Dutch TT, Rossi thwarted by a problem


The Ducati Team experienced an up-and-down weekend at the Assen TT, in the practice sessions and in the race, which was marked by agreeable weather conditions. Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi both enjoyed decent starts despite unfavourable grid positions, but both had to overcome problems.

 

The American suffered a setback when he went off the track at the chicane on lap one, but he quickly re-joined the race and continued to fight in the same group, eventually posting a sixth-place result. His teammate was involved in the same battle, but the Italian was forced to pit with an unusual tyre problem that Bridgestone is investigating. Nonetheless, he demonstrated determination and desire as he returned to the track and fought to a thirteenth-place finish.

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 6th

“I got a pretty good start and stayed out of the mess in turn one, but then I braked too deep in the chicane and went through the gravel. I almost lost the train, but I charged and was able to catch the group again. My bike felt pretty decent, and I got back in front of those guys. I was fighting with Crutchlow and Barbera. After Cal passed, Hector made a big mistake in the chicane and I almost hit him. Valentino and some of the others had tyre problems, but mine hung in there better than some. It would be nice not to have made that mistake on lap one, but I know if I want to go with that group, I’ve got to go at 100 per cent. A couple guys fell down, which helped me to get sixth place, but that’s racing. It hasn’t been an easy weekend, but the guys have really worked hard, and hopefully soon we can really do a good result.”

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 13th

“It’s a shame about today because I started quite well. I was there, having a good race, and I think I could have had a decent result. I was fighting with Nicky, who had passed me, but he was a little bit slower and I was waiting for a good moment to attack him again. I could have finished sixth, which would have given me some points to help in the standings, but we had a big problem with the tyre about eleven laps from the end. I had to return to the garage to change it because it was impossible to continue, so I started again with the soft and finished the race. We’ll try again next week at the Sachsenring.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“Nicky had a very determined race. He fought and maintained a good rhythm as long as he could, and he managed to recover when he had a small misstep, showing once again that he always gives his all. Valentino did the same. He got a very good start and was there in the same group, but a problem with the rear tyre forced him to pit. He didn’t want to stop, and after the tyre was changed, he returned to the track in order to bring home thirteenth place and three points.”

 

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Ducati Team tackles historic Assen


As the Ducati Team heads to Holland to contest the Iveco TT Assen, Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jeremy Burgess gives an overview of the historic track and outlines what technical challenge awaits the team.

“Assen is one of the older tracks and has some very interesting camber and sections where the bike rises and falls quite a lot, even though supposedly the ground in Holland is flat”, the Australian says. “The riders tend to like it. The grip is always very good. The weather sometimes is unfortunately a little wet, but generally you need a bike that turns well, usually with a lot of support from the rear. From our point of view it’s one of Valentino’s better racetracks.”

Following a race in Silverstone with mixed fortunes for the Italian outfit, where Hayden set the joint-third-fastest lap of the race, yet both him and Rossi suffered with rear tyre degradation, the team is looking for small technical improvements to get back onto the path they were on at Catalunya.

Burgess adds: “I hope we’ll perform very well. I think we’re getting closer each week. I think we were very good in Silverstone in the morning [Friday’s wet practice] and Nicky was good in the afternoon [dry track], so with a little bit of work with Valentino I think we can improve and we look forward to carrying that improvement through to Assen.”

Rossi, who has won at the track seven times in his career, is looking to draw on all his experience and love for the track to pull out a good result.He says: “Assen is a great track. I like it a lot, and it brings to mind a bunch of nice memories. We’ll try to start off with a good feeling with the track in order to improve our results a bit. For the moment, we can only work on the setup to prepare the bike as we try to return to the level that we had attained prior to Silverstone, which was a very difficult race. We were a bit better at Barcelona and during the dry sessions at Le Mans, so we must at least regain that pace. If it should also happen to rain, we know that we can be more competitive.”

Hayden mirrors Rossi’s thoughts on the Dutch track: “Assen has changed a bit over the years, but it’s a track that I like. There are some nice, fast sections, like the last bit, coming back to the stadium. A couple of those corners with the banking are pretty fun. Assen is one of those places where you never know what the weather’s going to be like, so you just have to be prepared for anything on Saturday. If you look at the result of my last race, I can’t say that it was really positive, but we learned a couple of things. One of those is that we need to try to come up with something to be easier on the tyre, so we don’t destroy it as quickly.”

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Assen to kick off three races in three weeks for Ducati Team


From the giant party that is World Ducati Week at Misano, to the Temple of Speed: Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and the Ducati Team are preparing for a three-week, three-race tour de force, beginning on Saturday at Northern Holland’s TT Circuit Assen.

 

The historic track that is home for the famous Dutch TT has been modified in recent years, though it’s still a fascinating circuit, and the event is capable of attracting huge numbers of motorcyclists and passionate fans of two-wheeled racing.

 

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden count the track amongst their favourites, and it has played host to wins for both riders: one for the American and seven for the Italian.

 

VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“Assen is a great track. I like it a lot, and it brings to mind a bunch of nice memories. We’ll try to start off with a good feeling with the track in order to improve our results a bit. For the moment, we can only work on the setup to prepare the bike as we try to return to the level that we had attained prior to Silverstone, which was a very difficult race. We were a bit better at Barcelona and during the dry sessions at Le Mans, so we must at least regain that pace. If it should also happen to rain, we know that we can be more competitive.”

 

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“Assen has changed a bit over the years, but it’s a track that I like. There are some nice, fast sections, like the last bit, coming back to the stadium. A couple of those corners with the banking are pretty fun. Assen is one of those places where you never know what the weather’s going to be like, so you just have to be prepared for anything on Saturday. If you look at the result of my last race, I can’t say that it was really positive, but we learned a couple of things. One of those is that we need to try to come up with something to be easier on the tyre, so we don’t destroy it as quickly. We’ll work on that in the Netherlands and try to get a good result.”

 

VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“The Dutch TT kicks off a very intense period for the team and the riders, because three races in three weeks, the final of which is at Mugello, means we’ll be very busy. Assen is a track that both Valentino and Nicky like, and where both have won and ride well. We must stay focused and work well in order to find a setup that enables them to have a good performance over race distance. We have gotten nearer to that goal at some tracks, whereas others have proven to be more challenging for us, so we have to be more consistent with our efforts, while working on the other aspects of the development.”

 

ASSEN CIRCUIT RECORDS

 

Circuit Record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda – 2010), 1’34.525 – 172.982 Km/h (107.486 mph)
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2010), 1’34.515 – 173.001 Km/h (107.498 mph)
Circuit Length: 4.542 Km (2.822 mi)
2012 MotoGP Race: 26 laps (118.092 km/73.379 mi)
MotoGP Schedule 2011: 2:00 p.m. local time

 

2011 PODIUM: 1st Ben Spies, 2nd Casey Stoner, 3rd Andrea Dovizioso
2011 POLE: Marco Simoncelli (Honda), 1:34.718 – 172.630 Km/h (107.267 mph)

 

DUCATI TEAM’S BEST RESULTS AT ASSEN
2011: 4th (Rossi)
2010: 3rd (Stoner)
2009: 3rd (Stoner)
2008: 1st (Stoner)
2007: 2nd (Stoner)
2006: 12th (Hofmann)
2005: 9th (Checa)
2004: 8th (Capirossi)
2003: 6th (Capirossi)

 

VALENTINO ROSSI
Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12
Race number: 46
Age: 33 (born 16 February 1979 in Pesaro, Italy)
Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)
Number of GPs: 264 (204 x MotoGP/500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
First GP: Malaysian GP, 1996 (125cc)
Number of wins: 105 (79 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12x 125cc)
First GP win: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)
Poles: 59 (49 x MotoGP/500cc, 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 Assen MotoGP/500cc Results
2011: Grid, 11th; Race, 4th
2010: Grid, DNS; Race, DNS
2009: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2008: Grid, 3rd; Race, 11th
2007: Grid, 11th; Race, 1st
2006: Grid, 18th; Race, 8th
2005: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2004: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2003: Grid, 3rd; Race, 3rd
2002: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2001: Grid, 3rd; Race, 2nd
2000: Grid, 6th; Race, 6th

 

Rossi’s Assen 250cc Results
1999: Grid, 1st; Race, 2nd
1998: Grid, 3rd, Race, 1st

 

Rossi’s Assen 125cc Results
1997: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
1996: Grid, 8th; Race, DNF

 

NICKY HAYDEN
Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12
Race number: 69
Age: 30 (born 30 July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)
Residence: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Number of GPs: 157 (157 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 Assen MotoGP Results
2011: Grid, 9th; Race, 5th
2010: Grid, 5th; Race, 7th
2009: Grid, 13th; Race, 8th
2008: Grid, 4th; Race, 4th
2007: Grid, 13th; Race, 3rd
2006: Grid, 4th; Race, 1st
2005: Grid, 5th; Race, 4th
2004: Grid, 16th; Race, 5th
2003: Grid, 12th; Race, 11th

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