Unpredictable Weather Boosts Hayden, Affects Rossi
Cold temperatures in the morning and rain in the afternoon made life difficult for Valentino Rossi on the first day of practice at the British Grand Prix, as he rode the complicated Silverstone circuit for the first time on a MotoGP bike in conditions that were far from perfect. Twelfth at the end of the first session, the Italian improved slightly during the wet afternoon session, but much of the setup work for the GP11 remains to be carried out tomorrow, weather permitting.
On the other hand, Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden put his experience from last year to good use on the English circuit, posting the fourth-best time in the dry, third-best in the wet.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th (2:04.778)
“This was our best Friday of the season so far. The conditions were difficult, especially this afternoon, with different surfaces and different amounts of water, but the bike worked quite well. We know it’s great in the wet, but we were also competitive in the dry this morning. We had to be careful not to destroy the rain tyres this afternoon, because we only have four sets for the whole weekend. You really need to save two for qualifying and one for the race, so this might be the only set we have for practice. I hope today sets us up for a good weekend. The team expects better than what we’ve been doing, and so do I. There’s a long way to go until Sunday, but we’re off to a good start. I’m very happy with the bike and the team today.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th (2:07.075)
“Today was a bit difficult. The weather was bad for the most part, and that didn’t help us. We knew we were beginning with a handicap, because compared to the others I lack the experience of last year. We’re a little bit behind. We’re currently trying to find a good balance for the bike, but considering that we still take time on the tracks that we know well, of course it’s even more challenging in these conditions. We even had trouble in the wet, where normally we’re immediately quite strong, so there’s obviously still much work to be done. We know that the bike can go well because today Nicky was fast in both conditions, and that’s positive. I like Silverstone a lot. It’s a great track—a little old-school, beautiful and fast. We hope we can have more fun riding here tomorrow.”