The final pre-season MotoGP test session was completed tonight in chilly, windy conditions at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit, where Ducati Marlboro Team riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi lowered their lap times from last night. The team will still be working hard to make up ground when practice for the first round of the world championship starts in two days, with the race scheduled for March 20.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:56.726 (68 laps)
“When we got here this afternoon, I wasn’t sure how much riding we were going to get to do, because the wind was really gusting. It started dying down about the time we started, though, and they did a good job of cleaning the track. We tried some different options and got a little bit better, but not like we really wanted to. I did two longer runs and was able to string together some laps at a decent pace, on both hard and soft tyres. I ended the day with a crash in Turn 2, where a lot of guys have gone down this week. I just lost the front end. Anyway, that’s enough testing, because this weekend it will really mean something. We know it’s going to be a tough one, because everyone is pushing so hard, but we’ll do our best to come in here and make a good showing.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th, 1:56.988 (50 laps)
“I’d say that today was pretty challenging: the weather conditions were much tougher than yesterday, and I had another crash when I slipped on a white line. Fortunately, I just fell over on the ground—it was nothing serious. The real problem was that at about an hour and a half from the finish, I started to lose strength in my shoulder, and I just couldn’t push anymore. It’s a shame, because I had just done my best time, and I may have been able to drop it a little more from there. Instead, we didn’t even mount the two soft tyres that we had. I started on a long run, but I stopped because I was losing tenths lap after lap. Let’s say that we’re not as far back as it looks, although we still have a lot of work to do, regarding both the bike and myself, because the shoulder is evidently not yet able to bear two such intense days of testing. Between now and Thursday, I’ll do some light exercise and have it massaged, and then we’ll see.”