DEMANDING DAY ONE FOR DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM IN PORTUGAL After dominating the opening free practice session for the Grand Prix of Portugal on a damp and cold morning at Estoril, Casey Stoner struggled to seventh place this afternoon as the track...
DEMANDING DAY ONE FOR DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM IN PORTUGAL
After dominating the opening free practice session for the Grand Prix of Portugal on a damp and cold morning at Estoril, Casey Stoner struggled to seventh place this afternoon as the track dried out and temperatures rose slightly. The World Champion was one of a number of riders who fell victim to the tricky track conditions, crashing on the exit of the chicane but escaping injury as he laboured to find a good feeling with the front end of his Desmosedici GP8.
Marco Melandri experimented with a new set-up strategy but was unable to report any major improvements. However, his final outing did bear some fruit and the Italian will be looking to make quick progress tomorrow.
The weather forecast again looks to be unstable for tomorrow, with improvements expected for Sunday.
CASEY STONER - (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 7th fastest; 1'39.202
"These are completely different problems to the ones we had in Jerez. So far I'm still having absolutely no feeling with the front end and I can't explain why we crashed on an out lap, going slow, with the bike upright. I was literally cruising, just picking the bike up on the way out of the corner and the front decided to give up on me. We've had such good feeling with the front in the past and lately it's gone - there aren't even any close saves, the grip is either there or it's not. I had these problems throughout the session today - so many times I had the front end on my knee and had to pick it up, so something is clearly not right. For one reason or another the bike doesn't feel the same as it has done in the past and we just need to try and figure it out, but I'm sure with a few set-up changes we can get there. It wasn't our best day but we're still not far off the pace."
MARCO MELANDRI - (Ducati Marlboro Team) - 15th fastest; 1'41.112
"We spent all day working down a particular route that led to nowhere and we lost a lot of time. The conditions have been mixed, with damp and dry moments, but it was like riding in the wet. It's not easy but it is the same for everybody. At the moment we're not on it, I can't ride as I want to. Tomorrow we'll go backwards a little with the set-up and hope that the situation improves."