With its long, fast corners, the Montmeló circuit is known for presenting a challenging search for traction, and the high temperatures during the first day of free practice for the Catalan Grand Prix only magnified that characteristic.
The lack of grip prevented both Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi from fully utilizing the bike’s power, and they finished tenth and twelfth, respectively, in the combined times. The Italian worked with an eye on Sunday’s race and used only the hard tyre.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th (1:43.057)
“This morning was pretty encouraging. The position wasn’t great, but 0.471 from the top is about as close as we’ve been in a while. The track temperature was really hot this afternoon, and we struggled a bit getting traction, especially in the long corners that Barcelona is notorious for. If the conditions are the same on Sunday, tyre life could be more critical than we’ve seen in some time. The things we tried from the Mugello test definitely helped a bit, and we still have plenty of ideas to try tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 12th (1:43.537)
“Today obviously didn’t go great, but it wasn’t as bad as it seems because when everyone put on the soft tyre at the end, I preferred to continue working for the race and kept the hard. Sure, we still have to improve the setup because we’re having a hard time with acceleration. We can’t find enough grip, and none of the changes we’ve tried so far have worked. This track is always very difficult when it comes to rear traction, but anyway, the other riders were faster, so we also must improve. Tomorrow morning’s session will be very important for trying for a good qualifying position in the afternoon.”