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Tyre life key as Ducati heads to final race in Valencia


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.”

 

 

 

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Ducati Team prepares for season finale


After a much-deserved weekend off, the Ducati Team heads to Valencia for the season’s fourth race to be held on Spanish soil and, more importantly, the final round of the eighteen-event MotoGP championship.

 

The team and both of its riders will be looking to make up for last year’s race, at which Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were both taken out by another rider in the first turn. Since then, the circuit has been resurfaced, so it will be important to see how the tyres perform and to adjust bike setup accordingly. The event invariably attracts a large, passionate crowd, and the stadium-like backdrop makes for an exciting atmosphere.

 

Following the Valencia finale, the MotoGP riders and teams will enjoy just one day off before they take part in a test at the same track on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

 

VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team

“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.”

 

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team

“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.”

 

VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager

“It’s the last race, and we have the chance for Valentino to finish the season in fifth place. We’ll all do our best to help him achieve that. It’s also important that Nicky finishes the season well, because apart from the wet Malaysian race, he’s been unlucky during the final part of the season. We were unfortunate at Valencia last year in that both riders were taken out in the first-turn crash, but prior to that, we had done a decent qualifying session with the possibility of having a good race. The track has new asphalt this year, so we’ll have to see how well the data that we gathered last season applies.”

 

VALENCIA CIRCUIT RECORDS

 

Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1:32.582 – 155.732 Km/h (96.767 mph)

Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2006), 1:31.002 – 158.436 Km/h (98.448 mph)

Circuit Length: 4.005 km (2.489 mi)

2012 MotoGP Race: 30 laps (120.15 km/74.658 mi)

2012 MotoGP Schedule: 2:00 p.m. Local Time

 

2011 PODIUM: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Ben Spies, 3rd Andrea Dovizioso

2011 POLE: Casey Stoner (Honda), 1:31.861 – 156.954 Km/h (97.527 mph)

 

DUCATI TEAM’S BEST RESULTS AT VALENCIA

2011: NA

2010: 2nd (Stoner)

2009: 5th (Hayden)

2008: 1st (Stoner)

2007: 2nd (Stoner)

2006: 1st (Bayliss)

2005: 4th (Checa)

2004: 3rd (Bayliss)

2003: 3rd (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: 275 (215 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 Valencia

2011: Grid, 6th; Race, DNF

2010: Grid, 4th; Race, 3rd

2009: Grid, 4th; Race, 2nd

2008: Grid, 10th; Race, 3rd

2007: Grid, 17th; Race, DNF

2006: Grid, 1st; Race, 13th

2005: Grid, 15th; Race, 3rd

2004: Grid, 3rd; Race, 1st

2003: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st

2002: Grid, 6th; Race, 2nd,

2001: Grid, 2nd; Race 11th

2000: Grid, 5th; Race, DNF

 

Rossi’s 250 track record at Valencia

1999: Grid: 4th; Race: 8th

 

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: 166 (166 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 Valencia

2011: Grid, 7th; Race, DNF

2010: Grid, 5th; Race, DNF

2009: Grid, 6th; Race, 5th

2008: Grid, 3rd; Race, 5th

2007: Grid, 3rd; Race, 8th

2006: Grid, 5th; Race, 3rd

2005: Grid, 3rd; Race, 2nd

2004: Grid, 5th; Race, DNF

2003: Grid, 4th; Race, 16th

 

 

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Ducati Team aims to bounce back after tricky Aragón


The Ducati Team suffered a difficult weekend at last weekend’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón as Valentino Rossi was forced to fight his way through the pack, and Nicky Hayden gave everyone a scare with a big crash.

 

Rossi made an error on lap one as he tried to overtake Repsol Honda’s Jonathan Rae around the outside into the final turn, being pushed wide off track. Nonetheless the Italian made his way back through the pack to ultimately finish eighth. Hayden ran wide in the same turn a lap later, running into the wall and flying over it. He was initially transported to the circuit medical centre and then to the Hospital de Alcañiz for precautionary checks. He was later released and plans to compete in the next round in Motegi, Japan.

 

Team manager Vittoriano Guareschi sums up the race: “It was a very difficult weekend for us. After the good race in Misano and after the good test after the race in Misano we had a very difficult weekend here because we couldn’t tryour bike enough in dry conditions with the new chassis with Nicky also.For this reason, we had a very difficult qualifying and race.With a good free practice it would have been possible to finish in fifth or sixth position, but for us it’s a difficult track. We suffered a lot with the grip – Vale said this is a big problem for us. We can improve our bike but we need to be trying more to improve.Nicky had a big crash. But he will be ready for the Motegi race.”

 

With regards to the upcoming race in Japan, Guareschi is confident that the Ducati Team will bounce back: “For us Motegi is a good track because the grip is good, and this is important for our bike in this moment, especially after last year’s big problem in the race. After one lap Valentino crashed and we finished the race very early. But he likes the track and I think it will be possible to get a good result.”

 

Rossi rued his early error, but believes the team will see an upward trend in Motegi: “It’s a shame about the mistake on the first lap. I was a bit faster than Rea, and when we spread out on the straightaway, and he braked a bit earlier, I went to the right. He couldn’t see me and pushed me close to the curb, and I went straight to avoid him. I should have gone to the inside, not the outside. Without that incident, I think I could have fought with Bautista for sixth place, which was our potential at this track today. There’s still much work to do, but it’s also true that for us this was probably the most difficult track among those left on the calendar, so we hope to be more competitive at Motegi in two weeks.”

 

Hayden, speaking the evening after the crash added: “I spun the tyre a lot on the start but was able to get past Rossi and Johnny Rea. The rear brake wasn’t working great from about halfway around the lap, maybe because I overheated it. I was trying to keep the group in front of me in sight, but I pushed the front in the last turn. I was able to pick it up, but I came up on that wall really fast. I thought I might hit it headfirst if I jumped off, so I let go right before impact. I’m sorry to tear up the bike, but I’m thankful for great safety equipment and to be okay.”

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Difficult race, but positive signs for Ducati Team at Aragon


Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi both had costly off-track excursions in the early stages of the Aragon GP, with the former crashing upon striking a tyre wall and the latter having to fight through the pack after re-entering the circuit and completing the first lap in last place.

 

Fortunately, there were no serious consequences from the American’s frightening incident, which occurred after exiting the track at same point where he had crashed yesterday. This time, he stayed upright until striking the wall and flying over it. Hayden was initially transported to the circuit medical centre and then to the Hospital de Alcañiz for precautionary checks. He has been released and plans to compete in the next round, the Japanese Grand Prix.

 

As for Valentino Rossi, he went off the track on the first lap to avoid contact with Jonathan Rea, and after re-entering in last place, he had to work his way forward. The Italian had a good pace for the entire race, making up twelve positions to take the chequered flag in eighth place.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th

“It’s a shame about the mistake on the first lap. I was a bit faster than Rea, and when we spread out on the straightaway, and he braked a bit earlier, I went to the right. He couldn’t see me and pushed me close to the curb, and I went straight to avoid him. I should have gone to the inside, not the outside. Without that incident, I think I could have fought with Bautista for sixth place, which was our potential at this track today. In fact, things went better in the race than in practice, when we suffered a lot on acceleration both in the wet and in the dry. We made some changes after the warm-up, and that helped us to lap consistently at a decent pace for the whole race, without using up the tyres too much. This is a positive sign, considering that we were also able to do that at Misano. There’s still much work to do, but it’s also true that for us this was probably the most difficult track among those left on the calendar, so we hope to be more competitive at Motegi in two weeks.”

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) DNF

“I spun the tyre a lot on the start but was able to get past Rossi and Johnny Rea. The rear brake wasn’t working great from about halfway around the lap, maybe because I overheated it. I was trying to keep the group in front of me in sight, but I pushed the front in the last turn. I was able to pick it up, but I came up on that wall really fast. I thought I might hit it headfirst if I jumped off, so I let go right before impact. I’m sorry to tear up the bike, but I’m thankful for great safety equipment and to be okay.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“We had a very challenging weekend here at Aragon because we started the race having had very little time to work on our setup. With the new frame and swingarm, it’s a period when we needed to ride as much as possible, but the only dry session was qualifying, where it was more important to do a good time than to try different settings. We had the warm-up this morning, and I must say that the team did a good job of finding solutions that allowed Vale to ride until the end at a good pace, without wearing the tyres too much. Obviously, we could have done with the two off-track excursions, but fortunately for Nicky the worse outcome was a bad scare for us all. I think that today, apart from the results, there were some positive signs, which show that we’re working in the right direction.”

 

 

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