Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner came within a few metres of his first pole position since the opening race of the season today when he ran into traffic in the final two turns of a flying lap that was still only 0.024 seconds shy of top spot. Second place on the grid is an excellent result for Stoner, however, on a day that saw him make significant progress with his race set-up around the tight and twisty Sachsenring circuit. A damp track for the first part of this morning’s second free practice had made the task all the more tricky for the riders and it wasn’t such a productive day for Stoner’s team-mate Nicky Hayden, who was unable to make progress on an impressive start yesterday and could only qualify fifteenth.
Both Ducati riders today used a new fairing on their Desmosedici GP10 machines, which featured small lateral ‘wings’ designed to help prevent wheelies around the dramatic undulations of this circuit.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd (1’21.841)
“We’ve gradually progressed over the whole weekend – we started off pretty competitive yesterday, the bike was going well and step by step we’ve made it better. The track conditions were also a little better today with the lower temperatures and of course more rubber having been laid down on it so that certainly helped. We managed to put a good lap together there at the end but I got caught up behind Colin Edwards in the penultimate corner and lost some vital time. I was a little bit disappointed not to get pole by such a small margin but maybe I should have attempted to pass him earlier and things might have been different. Having said that we have to be happy today – we’re starting from the front row and I’m feeling good about tomorrow so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team) 15th (1’23.090)
“Yesterday we started out well and I did a 1’22.9, which would have been good enough for ninth on the grid today, but we lost our way a little and maybe went in the wrong direction with the setting. Not to make excuses I did encounter a little traffic on some good laps and my ideal time has me tenth with a 1’22.7 but the bottom line is I wasn’t fast enough anyway. This is probably the last place where you want to qualify at the back so starting fifteenth is going to make it a long, tough race but a lot can happen in 30 laps. I need to get into a good early rhythm and just try to go forward. Yesterday we felt so positive and the feeling with the bike was so good, we were near the front, but this afternoon wasn’t a good session and I know I have to do better. I apologise to the team because they deserve better than fifteenth and we’ll look to put it right tomorrow.”
Popularity: 1% [?]