Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi finished eight and ninth, respectively, in the German Grand Prix, after a lengthy three-way battle that also included Alvaro Bautista.
The entertainment and thrills provided by the battle on track, and the fact that Rossi raced from 16th on the grid to a 9th place finish, can’t hide what was ultimately another disappointing weekend for Ducati.
Valentino Rossi is now considering ditching his revised GP11.1 and switching back to the GP11 for the next round at Laguna Seca – the 800cc engine is not providing the power required for the new chassis.
“For three races now we’ve used the new [GP11.1] bike to try to improve on the performance of the old one. I tried this bike with the 1000 engine and it was not so bad, but with the 800 engine the bike became very difficult to ride and I cannot load the front of the bike. So our performance at the last three races has been very, very bad. Especially in practice. And here it has been worse. So now we think maybe to come back to the normal, standard, bike. I don’t know when. We will decide after tomorrow.
And if Nicky Hayden was considering switching to the GP11.1 for Laguna Seca, then it is fair to say that he probably isn’t anymore.
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden give their thoughts on the German MotoGP at Sachsenring below:
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th
“I tried to go with that group in front of me off the start, but about the second or third lap I had a pretty big moment over the bumps in Turn 1 and they took off. From there I had a big battle with Bautista and Vale. It was fun, with a lot of overtaking, but battling for seventh place, 27 seconds back is hard for me to take at a track that I love and where I’ve been on the podium several times. I got to seventh toward the end and did my best lap, but they came with me. Bautista got me on my last lap, at the bottom of the hill. I re-passed him in the last corner, but he squared it up and nipped me to the line. It’s easy to say now, but I wish I raced the soft tyre. Thanks to the team and everybody that worked hard, but we had better hopes for today, going into Laguna.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th
“Today went a little better. This morning in the warm-up we made a change to the setup that helped me to slightly improve the feeling compared to the very, very difficult practice sessions. After the opening laps, I realized that my pace was the same as that of Nicky and Bautista’s group, maybe even a little faster, but I had small glitches with the gearbox in the second half of the race. It was mainly hurting me in the last corner, when I changed to third, because the bike wheelied and it took me half the straightaway before I could put it back down. At the end of the race, I wanted to pass Nicky on the brakes into the first corner, where I was pretty strong, but instead even Bautista passed me on the straight. Anyway, that’s not where we want to be. We definitely improved today compared to Saturday, but we’re still too far back. We find the race setup late, and that makes everything more difficult, but in order to improve we have to try many things, which makes it easy to lose our direction. It’s understandable, because we don’t know this bike well and I think we have to take chances and try everything. Now we’ll analyze the data from this weekend and decide what to do for Laguna Seca.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“It was a very difficult weekend, as we had to work really hard until the last minute in order to put Valentino in a position to have a decent race. Of course our goals are different from our today’s results, but it’s positive that we were able to find a setup, even if it was at the last minute, that let Vale lap half a second faster than in qualifying. Nicky had a close call in the opening laps and lost a little confidence, but he regained it in the second half of the race, maintaining a good rhythm until the finish.”
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