VALENTINO ROSSI AND NICKY HAYDEN START WELL IN PORTUGAL
The rain that was forecast for the first day of practice at the Estoril Grand Prix arrived, but fortunately for the MotoGP riders, both sessions took place in dry conditions. After a nighttime shower, the weather granted a respite until shortly after the finish of the premier class' 45 minute second free-practice session of the top class.
It was a good day for both Ducati Marlboro Team riders, with Valentino Rossi fourth and Nicky Hayden ninth, making progressive improvement from the morning to the afternoon. The Italian rider improved his time by approximately five tenths, while the American actually dropped a second and a half from his earlier time.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th, 1:38.102
"I'm pretty satisfied with how the day went. Let's start with my physical condition, which I'm very happy with: I was obviously aware of being a little better when I arrived here, but I wanted to wait until I tested my shoulder on the track, which confirmed that I'm able to ride well and have fun. It still hurts a little, and I'm missing a little strength, but the difference compared to my left shoulder is less. I can concentrate on riding the bike, and when watching myself on television, I can see that my style is starting to be a little more normal. Naturally, we're also working on the bike. Today we used a different weight distribution and some changes to the electronics that worked well. For the first time, we went faster in the afternoon session than in the morning. We dropped almost half a second, getting us closer to the top. I still have some problems with rear grip, so tomorrow we have to do better, but I'm happy for now."
I can concentrate on riding the bike, and when watching myself on television, I can see that my style is starting to be a little more normal.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:38.596
"This morning was not a good session at all, but the afternoon was a lot better. We had a problem with one bike in FP1. I'm not sure what happened, but we'll send the engine back to Bologna to check it out. I went back out at the end, but we used hard tyres because I didn't want to waste another soft tyre, since it looks like it will be a soft-tyre race this weekend. Also, I had just gone out with a new setting, and since I only did about four corners, we got no information on that. We lost some valuable time, but this afternoon went better--not spectacular, but pretty steady. I was in the top ten for most of the session, and I had a decent feeling with the bike--I would say better than what the lap time shows. I'm sure everybody thinks they can do better tomorrow, but I feel like we can do a good job and try to get in a good lap in qualifying, which is going to be really important."