The factory Ducati team of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished the first day of testing in Sepang in 12th and 13th place.
Rossi’s lack of strength in his shoulder caused the Italian to do less laps than Nicky Hayden, and his ongoing fitness for the start of the season will be a concern for the team.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th, 2’03.365 (41 laps)
“Rarely have I been this happy with a twelfth place, because after the test at Misano, we were pretty pessimistic considering how bad I felt there. It went better here though, especially in the morning, and we were able to do 20, 25 laps at a decent speed. Although we still have a lot of work to do, but we did a lot today: we worked on the riding position, and we’re starting to understand, among the many details that we can adjust on this bike, what the best solutions are. The Ducati’s DNA doesn’t need to be changed; we have to take advantage of the positive aspects and improve the others. Unfortunately, it became more difficult when I lost a lot of strength in the afternoon, but in the end I was able to do about fifteen more laps. Let’s say that at the moment, I have quite a bit of pain and not much strength, whereas the opposite would be preferable! The hardest parts are the straights and on hard braking into right corners, like Turn 1 and Turn 4; there alone I lose about a second, whereas the rest of the lap is okay, because compared to Valencia, I’m able to ride much better. It will be important to be able to rest well tonight in order to regain some mobility so that I can do 30 or 40 laps tomorrow. I’ll have a relaxing massage and put ice on it.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th, 2’03.508 (65 laps)
“Obviously, being off the pace isn’t how you want to start the first official test, but it’s good to be back out there. We had a lot of little things to try, including a new throttle that I liked a lot. The new anti-wheelie was working well, but this isn’t really a track where you notice that a lot. We’ve still got a lot more parts to evaluate before we can draw many conclusions. They did a lot over the winter-not just on the bikes, but they’ve really stepped the game up with new tools and equipment in the garage. Everyone is clearly working hard as usual. It was nice to be back on the track, and to be around the team again.”
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