With the opening round of the MotoGP world championship just around the corner, the Ducati Marlboro Team made some progress during the first half of a two-night pre-season test at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden both completed the evening test inside the top 10, and they look forward to taking further steps tomorrow. Although both Ducati MotoGP riders were able to complete 57 laps, both the Honda RC212V and the Yamaha M1 continued to play fiddle with the GP11.
Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda Team was .767 seconds ahead of Rossi. He was followed by Casey Stoner (Honda +0.143), Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda +0.173), Ben Spies (Yamaha +0.292), Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha +0.411), Colin Edwards (Yamaha +0.471) and Andrea Dovizioso (Honda +0.509).
The American Nicky Hayden finished the day right behind Valentino in eighth, not great in a field of 17 riders.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 8th, 1:57.038 (57 laps) says: "We worked well on the settings, even if in a couple parts of the circuit I’m still not fast enough, and we’ll have to try some more solutions tomorrow.
"As for the shoulder, I’m happy because I have a little more strength, and that enables me to ride better. Today I also had my first crash on a Ducati, which I naturally did intentionally because after a while, you have to do a little fall….
"All joking aside, I entered too quickly and lost the front: I was able to pick it up and avoid crashing while I was on the track, but I dropped it in the gravel-no big deal though."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:57.137 (57 laps) says: "In parts of the track I felt pretty good, but there are spots where the steering still needs to improve. If we can do better in those areas, we should be able to drop the lap time. I feel a little bit closer than Malaysia, but we certainly need to go quicker tomorrow."