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Ducati increases its pace in the dry at Sachsenring

Last weekend’s eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring saw Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi record his best dry result yet this season in sixth, with teammate Nicky Hayden narrowly edged into tenth.

Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi was pleased with the team’s performance, in particular the ability to fight competitively with the other factory brands:“We had an interesting race with both riders and had a good rhythm during the race. The gap between the second group was not big and unfortunately Nicky and Vale didn’t start very well and the gap [to the front] after two laps was immediately five or six seconds. But they fought for fifth and six positions with a Yamaha and also with Bradl on the Honda. This is a good result and it’s now possible for us to understand how to improve our bike further.”

Before arriving at the Sachsenring, the Italian outfit had sighted significant trouble with excessive rear tyre wear. Yet Guareschi stated that a new set-up had helped improve this: “We used two settings for Vale and Nicky that allowed them to ride at a decent pace, close to that of the Yamahas, to not stress the tyres too much and to fight for the entire race with a number of competitors.”

The Ducati Team now heads to its home race at Mugello for the third successive race in as many weekends. The Italian explained that despite not being current front-runners, local hopes will still be high: “Every year we have a big expectation because it’s the home race for us, but we know it’s very difficult because all the riders and all the machines want to win, and for us it’s an important race. We’ll approach this race with this set-up and will aim to get a good result.”

Rossi was pleased with his consistent pace, and was buoyed by the direction the team took on the weekend: “Today’s race went a little bit better. This weekend we decided to work on a setting that was similar to the one we used at Barcelona and Estoril, in order to suffer less with the rear tyre. Although we weren’t able to try it much in the dry, it turned out to be pretty effective. It allowed me to have a pace that was consistent and pretty fast until the end. The gap to the Hondas is large, but the Yamahas were closer today. I was sixth, our best result in the dry this year, so now we’ll continue in this direction. The bike is a little more difficult to ride, but at least I’m able to brake hard and to ride at a good pace until the end.”
Hayden, despite showing great pace all weekend, was understandably frustrated at loosing out at the end: “I’m really frustrated to have been in a big battle like that, only to arrive at the end of it. For the most part, I felt just as fast as the other riders in the group and even faster in places, until about the last five laps. Then I think I was hurt by the combination of the tyre going off and me trying too hard at the end. To arrive tenth, when fifth was just over a second in front, is hard for a racer to take. I can’t be too happy with that one, but we’ll get another shot in a week at Mugello.”

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Close race for Rossi and Hayden at the Sachsenring

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden crossed the finish line of the German GP in sixth and tenth places, respectively, after fighting throughout the race in a group of four or five riders.

 With just one practice session and the warm-up having taken place with no rain, the Ducati Team had little time to work on the dry settings that they used for today’s Grand Prix, but they both identified a number of adjustments that allowed them to consistently ride at a good pace.

 

On Friday, the team will return to the track in the first practice sessions for their home GP at Mugello, where a one-day post-race test will take place on the following Monday, concluding three intense weeks of work.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th

“Today’s race went a little bit better. This weekend we decided to work on a setting that was similar to the one we used at Barcelona and Estoril, in order to suffer less with the rear tyre. Although we weren’t able to try it much in the dry, it turned out to be pretty effective. It allowed me to have a pace that was consistent and pretty fast until the end. The gap to the Hondas is large, but the Yamahas were closer today. When I realized that I didn’t have the pace to escape the group I was in, I waited for the right moment to attack, and in the end, I was able to pass almost all of them. I tried with Bradl as well, but when I was almost next to him, they gave us the yellow flag for Stoner’s crash, and I backed off because anyway, I would have had to let him back by. I was sixth, our best result in the dry this year, so now we’ll continue in this direction. The bike is a little more difficult to ride, but at least I’m able to brake hard and to ride at a good pace until the end.”

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th

“I’m really frustrated to have been in a big battle like that, only to arrive at the end of it. For the most part, I felt just as fast as the other riders in the group and even faster in places, until about the last five laps. Then I think I was hurt by the combination of the tyre going off and me trying too hard at the end. I really started to spin and lost the rear a couple times on entry. We had tried a couple of things in the warm-up, and considering the lack of dry time this weekend, the bike was decent. In parts of the track I was fast, but I had troubles getting into and out of the last corner, as well as braking for turn one. To arrive tenth, when fifth was just over a second in front, is hard for a racer to take. I can’t be too happy with that one, but we’ll get another shot in a week at Mugello.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“It was positive day from a number of perspectives: we used two settings for Vale and Nicky that allowed them to ride at a decent pace, close to that of the Yamahas, to not stress the tyres too much and to fight for the entire race with a number of competitors. In the end, Vale got to the front of that group, and although he wasn’t able to get Bradl because of the waving yellow flag, he finished sixth, which is his best result in the dry this year. Nicky’s result didn’t match the potential that he demonstrated for the entire race, but that can happen in a close battle, frustrating as it may be. We must continue working to improve the bike, and today we gathered some interesting information.”

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Third row for Ducati Team in German GP qualifying

Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi will start from the third row of the grid tomorrow, having taken the seventh and ninth spots, respectively, in a rainy qualifying session at the Sachsenring.

 The American was on provisional pole approximately five minutes from the end of the session, but he was blocked by traffic in the exciting final laps and couldn’t manage to improve his time along with the others.

 

Valentino Rossi was very fast in the first and last splits, but he wasn’t able to be as effective in the middle sections. Nonetheless, in case of a wet race tomorrow, he’s confident he’ll also manage to perfect his setup in those sectors.

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:32.795)

“It was damp this morning, and in order to save some rain tyres, we didn’t do a lot of laps, although the bike felt really good. Then at the start of qualifying, the track was really wet, with standing water and streams running across. It was difficult, and at one point we decided to come in and wait. We’re struggling for edge grip in the long corners, although traction seems really good when the bike is picked up. Things felt much better toward the end, and I was on pole with about five minutes to go, only to get held up on the last two laps. I know traffic is a common excuse, but it was real today, and I certainly would have been up a couple more spots on the grid. I’m really frustrated to be starting on the third row, but we’ll give it our best in the race tomorrow.”

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:33.217)

“We were expecting more from a rainy session because normally we’re really quite fast in the wet, but unfortunately we made a small mistake on the setup with the back end of the bike. With so much water on the track, this made it somewhat difficult in T2 and T3. Unfortunately, losing some tenths in that area put me on the third row, despite being fast in the first and last sectors. On the plus side, the data make it clear where we made the mistake, and if there’s a wet race, fixing those details should make us more competitive. If the race should be dry, I hope that the warm-up will be as well, because over the entire weekend we’ve only had 45 minutes of dry time.”

 

 

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Engine driveability key for Ducati at Sachsenring

As the Ducati Team heads to this weekend’s MotoGP™ round at Germany’s Sachsenring, Nicky Hayden’s crew chief Juan Martinez delves into the challenges that await the Italian outfit at the narrow and twisty track.

He comments: “At the Sachsenring the driveability of the engine is quite important because there are many places where you cannot use all the power. So it’s very important how you deliver the power. When you’re touching the throttle it’s very important not to loose grip, as it hurts the tyre life a lot.”

Grip has been one are where Ducati have struggled slightly this season, yet Martinez is not ruling out finding a successful solution at the German track: “We’ll have to see how the 1000cc works here. We have an idea from the previous year, but the electronics have improved quite a bit, which should help with rear tyre wear. The right side of the tyres is very important at the Sachsenring as they get to quite a high temperature. The compound we have been using is quite strong, so you have to work on the set-up to get a mechanical grip, trying to compensate the lack of grip from the tyre.”

With positive results in the past, Martinez is hopeful of a positive outcome: “As always, we’re going to try and do our maximum on the Ducati. In the past we have had some good results there.”

Rossi, who has won at the Sachsenring five times in his career and climbed the podium on four other occasions, suffered a rear tyre fault at the last race in Assen, and is hoping for an improved race this time out: “I like the Sachsenring track. It’s difficult because it’s slow and narrow, but it also has some very fast sections, in addition to big elevation changes. Last year we had a difficult weekend in Germany, but of course my goal is always to do better every time we return to any track.”

Hayden, also a frequent visitor to the Sachsenring rostrum, having finished third four times, mirrors those thoughts, yet also speaks of the track with great enthusiasm: “Some people complain about the Sachsenring because it’s so small and tight, but I like it. The lap times are really short, and usually really close. You hardly ever use sixth gear, but it might have the best corner in MotoGP: the fast, blind, downhill Waterfall corner. When you’re bike’s working, it’s a lot of fun, although I’ve come off there, which definitely wasn’t fun! I like counter clockwise tracks, and I’ve been on the pole and on the podium there. Our bike tends to be hard on tyres, which can be a problem at the Sachsenring, but I think we made a little step with that this past weekend that could help us. I’m looking forward to it.”

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