RAIN DAMPENS PROGRESS FOR DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM AT MUGELLO Bad weather took centre stage at Mugello today as the Italian Grand Prix got underway beneath heavy black skies and a series of showers that affected every practice session. Light ...
RAIN DAMPENS PROGRESS FOR DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM AT MUGELLO
Bad weather took centre stage at Mugello today as the Italian Grand Prix got underway beneath heavy black skies and a series of showers that affected every practice session.
Light rainfall in the morning session saw the riders start out on wet tyres and it was only towards the end that a dry line formed, allowing them to change to slick tyres - even though the pace was still much slower than usual. Stoner, who was leading the time sheets at that point, decided that the track wasn't dry enough to gather any accurate data and opted not to run slick tyres. As a result he ended the day ninth fastest despite lapping third quickest in the afternoon, when the conditions were completely wet.
Marco Melandri struggled more than his team-mate in the difficult conditions, which didn't give him the opportunity to work on a new engine braking system that the team have brought to Mugello for him. Short of the time necessary to find the right setting, the Italian ended the day with the 15th fastest time.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th fastest: 1'58.618
"This morning was half dry and half wet so it was pretty pointless going out on slick tyres and doing slow times. That's why we decided not to use them at the end of the session, as a few other riders did. This afternoon we got some track time in fully wet conditions, which is much more useful. Having said that it was very wet and visibility was almost non-existent - especially behind the screen. It's hard enough trying to see through the screen without having rain splattered all over it and we don't exactly have windscreen wipers to get rid of the water! So it was quite hard visibility-wise but it was actually quite a lot of fun because the grip was good, especially at the beginning. The only problem was aquaplaning but other than that I felt safe and I enjoyed it. We don't really feel as though we've got the setting down yet. I didn't really feel 100% comfortable on the bike - it was very nervous and I wasn't getting much feeling from the tyres so we definitely need to work a little bit harder tomorrow and try to find a different solution if it's going to be wet. As far as I know the forecast is dry, so I guess we'll have to wait and see."
MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team) 15th fastest: 2'00.162
"Today has been really difficult because we haven't been able to find a good setting with the engine braking - to the point that this morning on a damp track I ran straight twice because the wheel was locking. In the afternoon the rain increased and the situation clearly got worse, so much so that I didn't feel I could ride. Tomorrow we need to find a solution so I hope it is dry."