Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso spent almost the entire United States Grand Prix in a battle with one another, ultimately finishing the race in eighth and ninth places, respectively.
A pass was made as they started lap 24 of 32, but the two touched on the front straightaway, causing the American to run wide in turn two. Hayden was able to reel Dovizioso in again and pass him through the Corkscrew with just two and a half laps remaining, and the duo retained their positions to the finish.
As a sign of respect for Andrea Antonelli, the young Italian rider who tragically lost his life today in the World Supersport race at Moscow Raceway, Hayden’s and Dovizioso’s Ducati Desmosedici GP13 machines wore a black stripe on their front fairings.
With the 2013 MotoGP season having reached its midway point, it now enters a three-week summer break, although this Thursday will find Dovizioso taking part in a test at Misano.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 8th: “It hasn’t been an easy weekend for us. Of course we hoped for more, but we know our potential is limited at the moment. I’m not happy with my start, and then I lost the rear brakes after about the fourth lap, maybe because they were overheating. I had no brakes for about two laps, but then I was able to pump them back up and close back on Dovi.
I raced with him until I passed him on the front straightaway. When we touched, I never saw him; I just felt something hook my handlebar. It was an extremely close moment, and when I went into turn two, my folding clutch lever had pivoted up and my handlebar was tweaked.
I couldn’t use the lever to back-shift and went through the turn in fourth gear, and then it took me a little bit to get used to the new position. Thankfully, I was able to pull him back and pass him. We’re not going to celebrate eighth place, but our competitors are stronger than us at the moment, especially on a bumpy track like this.
Hopefully we can do something better after the summer break. I’d also like to add that it was sad to wake up to the news of Andrea Antonelli. Even though I didn’t know him, the loss of a fellow rider is a terrible tragedy.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th: “As we expected, it was a tough race, as it was difficult to control the bike and to be precise. We had hoped to do the whole race under a 1:23 pace, but it wasn’t possible. Unfortunately, I lost my position to Nicky near the end, but I did my best. I tried to set the rhythm ahead of Nicky to wear him down, but in the end it was him who wore me down!
The contact on the front straight absolutely wasn’t intentional. Our bike tends to wheelie on the straightaway, and as a result, it’s not easy to control, which is why we came together. It was a somewhat dangerous situation, but these things can happen, though obviously unintentionally.
Unfortunately, this morning we all got the tragic news of Andrea Antonelli’s incident in the Moscow Supersport race, and I’m thinking of his family and team. I didn’t know him well, but we’re the same age and we did some motocross races together for charity. It’s truly tragic, and I’m very sorry.”
Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director: “Unfortunately, the day started with the tragic news of Andrea Antonelli’s incident in the Supersport race in Moscow, and that brought a veil of sadness over the entire paddock. I knew Andrea, and in the name of the entire Ducati Team, I would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family, his team, and all his relatives and friends.
The race wasn’t particularly satisfying for us. Nicky and Andrea had a lonely race for eighth and ninth places and were involved in a nice battle with one another that included some very close contact, but we obviously can’t be satisfied with the result. Unfortunately, we’re still far from the leaders, and we must continue to work hard to try and reduce our gap.”