2012 Qatar MotoGP – Ducati Team Report
Following slow results throughout the MotoGP pre-season, Valentino Rossi continued struggling throughout the practice sessions for the season opener at Losail International Circuit, Qatar.
The Ducati Team MotoGP rider then had negative results in qualifying, Rossi starting from 12th on the grid.
The nine-time World Champion had a very difficult race; Rossi reported that the rear of the GP12 difficult to control under braking with new tires. He also lost some time after he was pushed off the track by Pramac Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time in the beginning because when I had new tires with good grip, the rear pushed a lot, making it very difficult under braking. Then Barbera pushed me off the track and I lost five or six seconds. Otherwise, I could have stayed with that group.
“As the tire became used and began to slide, I started to ride a bit better and to do better times, to the point that I matched my best time on the last lap. By that point though, it didn’t count for much.”
As for his MotoGP teammate, Nicky Hayden battled with a few riders to earn a sixth-place finish. Like in qualifying, where the American placed fifth on the grid, Hayden was the quickest Ducati rider on the 21-rider MotoGP grid.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “I felt we had the potential to run with Dovizioso and Crutchlow, but considering my injuries and limited testing over the winter, I guess sixth is pretty good. I lost some positions at the beginning because I got hung up behind Spies and wasn’t very good on the brakes, but as the race went on, I managed my tire well and got stronger.
“That group I was in was fighting hard, and I was happy to bring Bradl back and come out on top of that battle. We put some good points on the board, got some data and learned a lot from riding with other people. I’m excited for the season. I think if we improve some things, we have the potential to put up some good results. I’d like to thank the team, the sponsors and everybody back at Ducati for all their work, because we’ve clearly taken a step forward since last year.”
With three weeks until round two of the 2012 MotoGP Championship at Jerez, the Ducati team will be busy improving the GP12.
Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati MotoGP Team Manager) says: “It was a challenging weekend for our team, but we can also look at some positive aspects as we continue to focus on working with the still-young GP12. Valentino had a difficult qualifying session, and he had problems in the race, particularly in the early laps with fresh tires.
“We must learn how to solve this, because in the end he posted some good times. Nicky felt more comfortable during practice, and today he rode with great determination, scrapping with Bautista, Bradl and Barbera to win the hard fight for sixth place. We’ll compare the data and the information we gathered from both riders in order to improve our bike for Jerez.”