Just a week after celebrating a podium finish for Nicky Hayden in his own home race at Indianapolis, the Ducati Marlboro Team heads to the factory’s second home race this weekend as the series returns to Europe and the Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast. The American, who is hugely popular amongst Ducatisti thanks to his cheerful character and determined approach to racing, will be congratulated and supported by thousands of them – packed once again into the "Variante del Parco" corner.
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
As MotoGP returned to action following the summer break and the Cardion ab Czech Republic Grand Prix finally got underway it was Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo who lapped the historic Brno circuit fastest on Friday afternoon, enjoying the warm, clear conditions on his factory M1 as he went round in a best time of 1’56.595.
Casey Stoner will not take part in the next three Grands Prix, and will next return to action at the beginning of October for the Grand Prix of Portugal. The Australian has suffered physical problems since the Catalunya GP, which have caused him severe fatigue during the last five races. Stoner took this difficult decision after having consulted with sports doctors who have looked after him for many years back home in Australia.
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden are both steeling themselves for a tough battle around the legendary TT circuit at Assen tomorrow after qualifying on 4th and 13th on the grid for the seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Stoner was in impressive form on race tyres, lapping in the low 1’37 mark that looks like being a pace capable of challenging for victory in tomorrow’s race, although when he switched to softer tyres for an assault on the grid positions he was held up by a host of slower riders on track.
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner will start from the front row of the grid in tomorrow’s Catalunya Grand Prix, with Nicky Hayden starting in thirteenth place despite a late crash that denied him a potential second-row start.
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden both enjoyed a positive first practice session at the Catalunya Grand Prix, with the American joining the Australian at the top end of the time sheets on an encouraging opening day: Stoner lapped third fastest, Hayden clocked the sixth fastest time.
A small crash towards the end of the session did little to dent the confidence of Stoner, who reported improved corner speed and turning from his machine at a circuit where he celebrated victory on his way to becoming MotoGP World Champion in 2007.