Front end issues struck the factory Ducati team once again today, as Valentino Rossi crashed out of the Australian MotoGP whilst battling for 5th position with Alvaro Bautista on lap 14.
Rossi started the race from the fourth row, but quickly found his rhythm and worked his way up the field to 7th position. As soon as he got Nicky Hayden and Alvaro Bautista in his sights he quickly caught up and joined the fight for 5th position. Rossi eventually passed Bautista to claim 5th, but the success was short-lived as he lost the front and slid out of the race.
Nicky Hayden had a decent enough race, but the American probably could have finished higher if it wasn’t for his decision to come into the pits and change his bike when it began raining four laps from the end. The rain proved to a passing shower and Hayden lost time and positions on the track – that said, many riders who didn’t change their tyres slid out in the wet conditions (including Bautista).
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden both discuss the Australian MotoGP below:
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) DNF
“The crash was really a shame because I could have finished fifth. After a pretty good start, I lost some ground to Nicky and Bautista, but then I found my rhythm and managed to get them both. Unfortunately, I lost the front when I passed Alvaro, and I’m really disappointed because I didn’t expect it. Evidently, despite all our hard work, we still haven’t solved this problem. Anyway, both in Japan and here, we could have collected some good points, and instead we leave with none. That said, we’re still working, and we’ll have a number of important things to try in the next tests.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th
“Conditions were really tough today, with wind and rain off-and-on at different parts of the track. My start actually wasn’t amazing, but I think everybody else got away worse than I did. I was in a good position, but I really had no grip at the rear from the very beginning, and although I tried as hard as I could, I couldn’t defend much when guys started coming past. Eventually I blistered the rear tyre and was just trying to make it to the finish, and then when it started to rain harder, it felt really slick. I just about lost it, and when I saw Bautista go down, I decided to come in and change bikes rather than risk doing the same. It’s another seventh place, but I was closer to the front than I’ve been in most races. I felt good apart from a few places, like Turn 6, and the bike was fast. We’ll try to base our future work on those positives.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“Just like at the Japanese Grand Prix, there are also positives to consider here in Australia, despite the fact that it was a challenging weekend. Vale struggled in the practice sessions, but he was fast in this morning’s warm-up. He also found a good rhythm in the race and had climbed as high as fifth place when he fell. Nicky had his best qualifying session of the season, he started the race well and we saw him have some good battles in the early laps. We expected something more here in Australia, but we’re also aware that we’re working on a number of different fronts in these races, gathering information that will be useful in the future.”
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