The story didn’t change much for Ducati MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. The opening day at Brno didn’t go too well for Rossi and Hayden, both struggling with grip on their perspective GP11 MotoGP prototypes during both free practice sessions Friday.
Piloting the updated GP11.1, Rossi began the free practice sessions off slowly, posting the 11th quickest time in FP1, 2.4 seconds behind leader Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).
In the second free practice at Brno MotoGP, Rossi bettered his time to seventh position with a 1:57.745, just over a second slower than FP2 leader Pedrosa, a vast improvement from the earlier times.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “Today we started better than we had at recent races. Although I’m seventh, our time isn’t bad, and Spies and Dovizioso are ahead but close. This is positive, but the really important thing will be whether we can continue improving like this tomorrow as well, cutting more tenths from my time, session by session.
“Today I went pretty well on the second part of the track, while I lost time in T1 and T2, so we have to try to work on those sections. We had a hard time at the start of this afternoon’s session, because the hard tire, which we thought we could work well for the race, was really sliding a lot.
“When we put on the soft, the situation improved, also because we made some additional changes with the front that helped us improve the feeling. We hope to be able to do the race with the soft, and tomorrow we’ll try to do enough laps to verify that as well.”
Hayden’s day didn’t go nearly as good as his MotoGP teammate Rossi. Hayden lacked much rear grip aboard the GP11, finishing 14th in both FP1 and FP2 Friday, over two seconds behind Pedrosa in both sessions.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11 MotoGP) says: “It was a frustrating day, really. You have two weeks off, and you work hard and do all the little things that will help you when you come back.
“Then to have your first day back be probably your worst day of the year is pretty frustrating. The main thing is I don’t have much grip from the rear, even on corner entry, and I’m spinning a lot on exit.
“There are a lot of long, fast corners here, and if you’re slow there, you lose time. We tried a couple things to improve certain areas, but really we didn’t find a big step forward. It was a pretty difficult day for me. I’m not happy with my performance, or with anything, so hopefully we can put this behind us tomorrow.”
Ducati’s Rossi and Hayden will be back on Brno Saturday morning, as they continue to find proper setup on their bikes ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix, Round 11 of 18 in the 2011 MotoGP Championship.