Hayden On Podium At Jerez, Rossi Falls But Remounts To Take Fifth
Nicky Hayden climbed the third step of the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix, in a race made so treacherous by rain that in the end, only twelve riders reached the finish line. The American rider, who started from the fourth row, was fast from the beginning, immediately making up ground. He was involved in a number of battles that saw him alternating between fifth and third places for most of the race until he earned Ducati’s first podium finish of the season.
Valentino Rossi, who also started from the fourth row, mounted an extraordinary charge. Fast and determined, he advanced from twelfth to second position in the space of just seven laps. Unfortunately, he had a fall following an error in the first turn of the eighth lap, involving the innocent Casey Stoner in the incident.
Rejoining the race in second-to-last place, with a big gap to the next rider, Rossi didn’t give up and gave everything he had, charging all the way to fifth place at the finish.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 3rd
“That wasn’t necessarily a pretty win because my last laps were so slow when the tires were worn, but we’re on the podium, and I’m pretty happy about it! In the beginning, our bike was really good because I had a lot of traction. After a while, it was all about focus, and there was no room for error. The track was changing every corner, because there was rain in some parts and no rain in other parts. Also, the tyres and the lines kept changing. It certainly hasn’t been an easy start to the season, so we’ll take success any way we can get it. Big thanks to the team. Hopefully we can try to build on this, and it will be the little shot in the arm to help get us going. I know Ducati’s not sleeping. They’ve got some work to do, but I think our bike is better than we’ve been showing. We’ve just been missing a little bit, but I’m confident we can still recover and have a good season.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 5th
“Today in the wet we had a great chance for me to make my first podium with Ducati, or even to get my first win. I felt good, both with the bike and my shoulder, because I could brake where I wanted to rather than where I’m forced to in the dry, since I still don’t have the necessary strength. The bike is very fast in the wet. I was advancing really well, and I’m sorry to have made that mistake and thrown away such an opportunity. While braking for the first corner, I entered a bit long, and although I tried to stay to the inside, I lost the front and couldn’t stay up. I’m sorry, because I also took out Stoner, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. I apologized to him, and I’m truly sorry; it was a mistake. It’s a shame because we really could have gotten some satisfaction, but we’ll keep trying. We’re still not so fast in the dry, but we’re working hard. Anyway today’s fifth place gave us eleven points that are very important in the championship.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“We’re very happy because we got our first podium of the season with Nicky, and we saw Valentino riding really well. It’s a shame about the crash because he would have fought for the win, and obviously, we’re also very sorry that Casey was involved. Vale was able to get going again, and he had a great race. He didn’t give up, and he managed an excellent fifth place. Nicky was very good at handling a difficult situation over the last ten laps when the tyres were finished and it would have been easy to throw it all away. The team worked very well. We found a good setup for the wet during the warm-up, and we had an excellent team result.”