STONER AND HAYDEN PROGRESS HIT BY RAIN AT LE MANS The fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship was predictably hit by rain today, as the typically changeable conditions of northern France brought an early interruption to the first free...
STONER AND HAYDEN PROGRESS HIT BY RAIN AT LE MANS
The fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship was predictably hit by rain today, as the typically changeable conditions of northern France brought an early interruption to the first free practice at Le Mans. With each session returning to an hour in length this weekend, today provided the riders with the ideal opportunity to work on bike set-up without the added pressure of restricted time constraints. However, a light shower around fifteen minutes from the end of the session halted the progress of Ducati Marlboro pair Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden, who were making gradual and methodical improvements to the settings of their Desmosedici GP9 machines.
Stoner only completed a handful of laps on a comfortable set-up but the Australian was in impressive form, clocking the second fastest time behind today's pacesetter Andrea Dovizioso. Hayden, working for the first time with new Crew Chief Juan Martinez, was the only rider starting the session with a harder rear tyre and had just switched to a softer compound when the heavens opened. The American ended the session 15th fastest and is desperate for the opportunity of a full day's work tomorrow.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd (1'36.194)
"In the first part of the session it felt like we maybe had a problem with the rear tyre because the bike was pretty difficult to ride but we haven't analyzed the data yet so we don't know what really happened. We were in and out of the garage a few times before deciding on a complete change, swapping onto my other bike with a completely new tyre. I immediately had a better feeling but we still weren't getting enough temperature into the tyre, which we think was because the rear setting was too stiff and we weren't getting enough weight transfer to load the rear and make the tyre work. We changed the set-up but we only had time to do half a lap and then the rain came, which was effectively 'game over'. It wasn't much of a session for us because we only completed three proper laps so it would be useful if we could have a dry weekend to have more time to work on the setting. Unfortunately with the way the weather forecast is, I don't think we're going to get that!"
NICKY HAYDEN -- (Ducati Marlboro Team) 15th (1'38.032)
"We thought we were going to have an hour today but it seems like the weather decided we should stick to 45 minutes! It was a shame about the rain because we obviously have a lot of work to do and we're in a new situation, where me and Juan need to learn about each other, but we only got two runs in the dry. I constantly got a little faster, a little faster, and then I was really just getting going on my second run when it started to rain. For a while it looked like it couldn't decide whether it wanted to rain or whether the sun was coming back out but unfortunately the conditions were never back to what we needed. I was planning to go out on the softer tyre and see how that felt but we didn't get that chance. It's early days to comment on the relationship with Juan but he clearly knows his stuff and we'll see how we go."