The Ducati Team heads to this weekend’s Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana looking to finish off the 2012 season on a high. Valentino Rossi, contesting his last race with the Italian outfit, still stands a chance of finishing in fifth place in the table, whilst Nicky Hayden could jump up into eighth.
Hayden’s crew chief, Juan Martínez, sums up what is needed from the team to give both riders the best possible tools to achieve their goal: “Valencia racetrack is a track where you don’t have so many corners to the right, so you have to pay a lot of attention in the right hand turns, especially with regards to heating up the tyres to avoid having any crashes there.”
He continues: “This year we will have to find out about the different surface, because they have put a new surface on, and it seems like it’s going to be quite aggressive and it’s going to be very hard for the tyres.We will see what type of tyres Bridgestone will be taking there.”
The Ducati, known for its very high horsepower, will not be calling upon its outright speed at the Valencia circuit, but will instead have to focus on the frame set-up to prolong tyre life. Martínez adds: “The engine is not as important as it could be at Sepang for example, but we have to work on making the tyre life good enough to finish the race.The frame set-up is going to be very important in order to be gentle on the tyres. When you have a new surface on the track, the grip is not really constant on the tyre. It breaks the rubber and the tyres aren’t able to complete the whole race, so we have to set up our frame perfectly.”
Rossi, who has not won at the track since 2004, is looking forward to the atmosphere at the circuit:“Valencia definitely isn’t one of my favourite circuits, apart from the fact that it’s in Spain, which always has a great atmosphere. It’s a ‘Micky Mouse’ track that’s small for MotoGP and therefore difficult and tricky. There are a bunch of left hand corners, and I normally prefer those that go to the right. Anyway, we’ll see. The asphalt was redone and that should have improved both the grip and the bumps. It will be a strange weekend that should be challenging for a few different reasons, but we’ll do our best.”
Hayden mirrors his crew chief’s thoughts: “Valencia is a track and a race that I like a lot. It’s the last round of the year, so the atmosphere is good and everyone always seems to have a little something extra. The track has been resurfaced since we were last there, and it was certainly due. We’ll have to see how it is with tyres when we get there, as new surfaces can be hard on rubber. We’ll need something that has good endurance on the left but also retains enough heat on the right. Smoother tracks are normally better for our bike. One thing we need to do better than in recent races is to make bigger improvements with the bike over the course of the weekend. My team has been working so hard all year, and I really want to end the season with a solid race for them.”