GOOD START IN QATAR FOR THE DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM
The 2011 MotoGP World Championship officially kicked off tonight at Losail International Circuit with the first Free Practice session of the Grand Prix of Qatar.
It was a positive first day for the Ducati Marlboro Team, with Valentino Rossi fifth at the end of the 45 minute session, and more importantly, pleased with the work carried out on the Desmosedici's setup.
Nicky Hayden started quite well, immediately matching his best time from the test, and although in the end he didn't achieve the pace that he wanted, he has a variety of solutions to try in the coming days.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 5th, 1:56.479
"We're all pretty satisfied with this first free practice because we worked well throughout the entire session, progressively improving with each outing. We modified the setup a little compared to the test, and we immediately found it to be better, to the point that within just a few laps, I improved on my time from Monday. The last run was particularly positive and my final lap time, done with a hard tyre that had 19 laps on it, was my best, a bit more than a tenth off of second place. We know that if we want to have a good race on Sunday, we have to cut another five tenths, and we'll try to do that tomorrow. Anyway, although we still have to improve some more things on the bike, now I don't have to push so hard and it is turning better. The shoulder is holding up well. It was only at the end that it started to lose a little strength, and tomorrow we'll see how it reacts with two practice sessions. In any case, we're happy today."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 11th, 1:56.910
"It was certainly nice to be back in action that counted a bit more. We had a bit of wind, and the temperature wasn't really high, but for as much sand as we've seen blowing around the last couple of days, the track was in great condition. The session started out pretty well. I immediately went out with a hard rear tyre and a soft front, which isn't my favorite setup, and I was able to match my lap time from the test by the fourth lap. I felt quite good, but from there, I never really was able to improve much. Obviously everybody else got quicker, so I'm not thrilled with that time. The bike was similar to how it was in the test. We've got some more opportunities before Sunday night, so we'll keep trying to improve."