Ducati Marlboro Team riders Nicky Hayden and Mika Kallio are confident of putting on a performance to delight the thousands of Ducatisti in the crowd at tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix after qualifying sixth and eleventh respectively in this afternoon’s qualifying session. Hayden was the second fastest rider on track in the first and final sections of the Misano circuit but, like yesterday, he struggled with the fast right-hander in T3.
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Mika Kallio and Nicky Hayden were satisfied with their day’s work following the opening free practice session for the San Marino Grand Prix today, having both continued their positive recent progress with the set-up of the Desmosedici GP9 machines. Kallio recovered his recent lost confidence in the front end of his bike to lap seventh fastest whilst Hayden, who signed a one-year extension to his deal with the team yesterday, was also inside the top ten despite being held up by a slower rider on his quickest lap.
MIKA KALLIO Speaks…
Nicky Hayden continued to make gradual improvements to both machine set-up and overall classification today as he posted the eighth fastest time in qualifying practice for tomorrow’s Czech Republic Grand Prix. The American held on to a third row spot – his second best grid position of the season – despite an intense finale to the session, which saw his stand-in team-mate Mika Kallio secure tenth place for his Ducati Marlboro Team debut despite a late crash while he was pushing for a even faster lap.
NICKY HAYDEN Speaks… (Ducati Marlboro Team) (8th; 1’57.803)
The MotoGP World Championship returned to action following a brief three-week break today, with Mika Kallio making an impressive debut for the Ducati Marlboro Team in the absence of regular rider Casey Stoner at Brno, lapping seventh fastest, and Nicky Hayden making gradual progress to finish twelfth.
The flying Finn, who has brought his Chief Engineer and his Telemetry Engineer with him from the Pramac team, lapped consistently at the top end of the time sheets throughout this afternoon’s opening free practice session and was a fixture in the top five before slipping two places in the final
It was a mixed day for Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies in Brno. The first race started well with Spies, Biaggi and Fabrizio pulling away at the front but Fabrizio came in too hot three laps in and lost the bike, taking Spies out in the process. Race two and Spies got straight out in front, leading from the start. Again followed by Fabrizio and Biaggi, the two Italians fought amongst themselves until the closing laps when Biaggi got past and came after Spies.
Having learnt the long complicated Brno track Yamaha World Superbike rider Ben Spies got down to business today in the second qualifying session. Spies speed was never on doubt and as the track knowledge increased so the lap times came down. He ended the session on the top spot a tenth of a second faster than nearest rival Max Biaggi although overall times put him in second behind the Italian.
Biaggi’s claim to the top spot was short-lived as Spies went straight out in the first Superpole session to score the fastest time, without using a Q tyre.
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden will ride for potentially the final time at Donington Park tomorrow, with the British Grand Prix set to move to Silverstone next year. The Australian and the American start from fourth and fifteenth place respectively on the grid after qualifying practice was held in dry and warm conditions this afternoon.
Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Ben Spies and Tom Sykes ventured out today for their first time on the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic. Both riders spent the first free practice session learning the track layout and testing out the set up of their bike in advance of the afternoon’s qualifying session. Spies showed his usual flair for understanding a circuit in record time, ending the session in third position just two tenths off the leader Max Biaggi.
The MotoGP World Championship arrived at Donington Park for the final time today as the first practice session for the British Grand Prix took place in conditions that have been synonymous with the Leicestershire circuit since it first hosted the event back in 1987. A mixture of sunshine and rain made it difficult for the riders on track and whilst the lap times were a long way off record pace in a session that started wet and ended virtually dry, the Ducati Marlboro Team riders were both competitive and satisfied with their performance.
Casey Stoner Speaks…
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden will both start from the higher echelons of the grid in the German Grand Prix tomorrow after qualifying third and fourth fastest respectively in difficult conditions at Sachsenring this afternoon. A torrential rainstorm severely reduced grip levels and huge sections of standing water on the track made for a crash-strewn session.
No fewer than nine riders crashed out, seven of them in the tricky downhill turn eight, including Hayden.