Both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden already had a tough benchmark to live up to as they arrived at Phillip Island – for the last 4 years, Casey Stoner has ridden the 800cc Ducati Desmosedici to victory at the track.
Both riders struggled with grip in both practice sessions, but Nicky Hayden at least managed to break into the top 10 for the second pratice session.
Rossi is riding with a fractured finger, an injury that he picked up after his crash in Japan, and the Italian complained that the pain and discomfort was more than he was expecting – he is seeking stronger painkillers for tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th (1:31.662)
“As far as weather is concerned, this is probably the nicest day I can remember at Phillip Island in a long time, but we always hope for better results here than what we had today. The track’s definitely got a bit bumpier, which is obviously the same for everybody, so it’s not an excuse. The bike is harsh over the bumps, so in places I have to use a slower line in order to miss them. We tried to do some laps on hard tyres this afternoon, but we need to find more grip, both in order to be faster and to get better tyre life. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ll do our best tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 13th (1:32.014)
“Today wasn’t easy, especially since we had hoped to be better immediately, like at Motegi two weeks ago, as this track is normally good for the Ducati. We started with the same setup, with just a small adjustment to the fork spring, but the feeling wasn’t the same. I wasn’t able to ride well today, in part due to the pain in my left pinky finger, which bothered me more than I expected, but especially because of the feeling with the bike. I’m not able to brake well or enter corners well. Tomorrow we’ll try stronger painkillers for my hand, and from a technical point of view, we’ll look for a different solution to improve the front and to do better than thirteenth place. We won’t change the setup completely. We’ll probably move the position of the front wheel, but we’re just talking about small changes.”
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