Ducati’s decision to incur the engine rules penalty (after using their 7th engine of the season) and start Valentino Rossi from the pit-lane put another dark cloud over yet another race weekend for the factory team – but it was a tactical decision that they are hoping will pay off in the future.
Rossi now has two identical bikes to race with for the rest of the season – using the word ‘race’ may be a little generous, Rossi and Ducati will be treating the rest of the season as an extended testing session as they work on short term, and long term development solutions.
Nicky Hayden had a mixed race and looked strong in the first half of the race, putting some strong moves on Bautista, but rear grip issues caused him to fade in the latter stages and he slipped to a 7th place finish.
Both factory Ducati riders discuss the Aragon MotoGP below:
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th
“I had a good start and was decent at the very beginning. We knew tyre wear was going to be an issue, and we had a drop in performance after the first couple of laps. It lost grip, and I also wasn’t able to load the bike well for turning. I was okay in parts of the track, but compared to the fast guys, I was losing time in the last corner. I hoped to hang onto the second group for a while, but it just wasn’t possible. I’d like to have fought with Bautista on the last lap because he was on our pace, but Barbera and I were going back and forth, which hurt both of us and let him escape. It’s unfortunate, because coming here we hoped that we could put up a better fight. Still, this is the first race I’ve finished normally with the GP11.1, since at Indy I reentered just to get points. Hopefully that will help us to get some data and be better off in the future.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 10th
“It was definitely a difficult race, even if objectively speaking, we could have done a little better than we did. We used the setup from yesterday morning, with which I had done some good laps with a very used tyre. Unfortunately, in the race the rear tyre was sliding much more than it did in practice. It was almost used up just when I was catching Nicky and his group. That said, we’re still not where we should be. We’re working on several fronts, with short-term solutions that haven’t been conclusive, and others that are longer-term and that I still hope can bring more substantial improvements. We’ll see what they think at the factory. For now, we’re still pretty far, and given that time is our biggest enemy, we’ll continue also working on development during the races.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“This race was very difficult for us, but it was also important because we began a project that, while it caused a penalty for Valentino, is also one of the first steps in the direction of the Desmosedici’s development. We know that it’s not easy for a rider to knowingly sacrifice any chance of having a better performance, and this gives us enormous motivation to try to speed up our work as much as possible. Nicky and his team are also trying extremely hard to gather as much information as possible on his GP11.1 which, despite not having the updated front chassis part like Valentino’s, is still a new bike with a lot of margin for improvement with regards to its setup.”
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