Rossi seventh, Hayden eleventh at damp Le Mans

Valentino Rossi, Ducati Marlboro Team
Valentino Rossi, Ducati Marlboro Team

Photo by: Ducati Corse

Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden posted the seventh and eleventh best times, respectively, in today’s qualifying session for the French Grand Prix. For the Italian, who today was consistent in both the dry morning session and the mixed conditions of the afternoon, it was his best qualifying result of the season. The American rider, on the other hand, will look for a better-performing solution in tomorrow’s warm-up session, given that he still has some problems with his setup.

The track, which was initially damp from the rain that had fallen until shortly before qualifying, dried little by little, making the standings quite volatile as the riders switched from rain tyres to slicks in their efforts to adjust to the changing surface.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th (1:34.907)
“I had to pass a rider on my good lap, otherwise I could have been faster, but anyway, I’d say that it’s going pretty well. I’m a bit sorry not to have made the second row, which was pretty close, but the fact remains that this is our best qualifying session of the season and that we were also at the same level in this morning’s dry session. This afternoon we did a good job of adapting to the track conditions, which changed quite quickly, and every exit I found myself on the track at the right time. We made another small step forward compared to Estoril, and we worked well. We’ll see what conditions we find tomorrow. If it’s dry we’ll have to try to start well and stay with those in front for as long as possible, and maybe we’ll be able to cut a little more time.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 11th (1:35.291)
“It was quite a hectic session, with just enough rain to complicate things. With us being behind on the setup, we needed some dry time, as the lap times just aren’t coming for us in those conditions. We’ve tried a lot of different options, but we still haven’t solved the problems we have on this track: running wide in some places, problems turning, and some chatter. We’re having trouble finding a really good direction. The team’s not giving up, and we’ll be back to do our best tomorrow.”