French GP: Ducati race report

CONTRASTING FORTUNES FOR DUCATI MARLBORO PAIR AT LE MANS Nicky Hayden produced another valiant challenge for a podium position in the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans this afternoon, finishing fourth in a race that saw his Ducati Marlboro...

CONTRASTING FORTUNES FOR DUCATI MARLBORO PAIR AT LE MANS

Nicky Hayden produced another valiant challenge for a podium position in the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans this afternoon, finishing fourth in a race that saw his Ducati Marlboro team-mate Casey Stoner suffer the misfortune of a crash while trying to close the gap to the front three.

It was an early and disappointing end to a tough weekend for the Australian, who lost the front end of his Desmosedici on the third lap. However, there was still plenty of excitement for the Ducatisti amongst a 82,000 crowd to enjoy as Hayden took the fight to the frontrunners, passing Dani Pedrosa to take fourth place on the final lap, crossing the line just 1.5 seconds behind Andrea Dovizioso in third. The race was won by Jorge Lorenzo ahead of Valentino Rossi.

NICKY HAYDEN -- (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th

"I'm about as happy with fourth as you could wish to be because I've struggled this weekend and once the race got started I went backwards pretty quickly. I just dug in and started going a little faster. I was pushing so hard to try and get those guys and finish on the podium but I couldn't get close enough. As we say in America 'close only counts in horseshoes and washers' but I know I couldn't have ridden any harder today and the team did a great job, so my heartfelt thanks go to them. Fourth place is okay here but it won't be good enough at Mugello so we have more work to do there. I feel sorry for Casey today and his side of the garage because I see how hard they work, he is an unbelievably fast rider and he'll be feeling disappointed right now, but you can be sure he will bounce back, he is very strong. It's a long season so hopefully we can both have something to smile about next time."

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) DNF

"I'm really disappointed because the bike has felt great all weekend, I've been pushing the front wherever I wanted but for some reason when the race has come around it felt like it was going to fold. It's something we have to get to the bottom of and we need to do it soon because it is not good to start the season with only one finish from three races. I haven't changed anything with my riding style but if I need to do something then we have to work out what and I can do it. Maybe it's because when I'm behind slower riders in the race I'm not able to put the same pressure on the front. I'm not sure at the moment, to be honest, so we need to sit down and work out what's best for the next race."

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

"I'm really disappointed for Casey and for the team because this is obviously a big letdown for all of us. Today we had the possibility of having a good race, as we saw with Nicky, but it didn't turn out that way for Casey, who crashed when he was trying to make up ground on the top three. He lost the front and now we're all working together to try and work out why. I know that Casey will bounce back in the next race, ready to give it all as always and we'll be working hard to allow him to show his huge talent. Nicky was great again today and that kind of result is not a surprise anymore. He had a few problems in practice but he showed great character in the race to score the best result of his career at this track."

-source: ducati

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Vittoriano Guareschi , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa