With the opening round of the MotoGP world championship just around the corner, the Ducati Marlboro Team made steady progress during the first half of a two-night pre-season test at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit, where temperatures were around 23° (73° F) and track conditions decent. Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden both completed the evening solidly inside the top 10, and they look forward to taking further steps tomorrow.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 8th, 1:57.038 (57 laps)
“It wasn’t bad for a first day. I was able to ride the bike better, and I enjoyed myself. Although I was just eighth, my times aren’t too far from the top: seven tenths is still a big difference, but anyway it’s progress, considering that I did my best time with a very used tyre. We worked well on the settings, even if in a couple parts of the circuit I’m still not fast enough, and we’ll have to try some more solutions tomorrow. As for the shoulder, I’m happy because I have a little more strength, and that enables me to ride better. Today I also had my first crash on a Ducati, which I naturally did intentionally because after a while, you have to do a little fall…. All joking aside, I entered too quickly and lost the front: I was able to pick it up and avoid crashing while I was on the track, but I dropped it in the gravel—no big deal though.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:57.137 (57 laps)
“Right out of the gate, it wasn’t too bad, and then we were up against a wall for a while. The team made one little change with ride height and I was able to get a decent lap time and get consistent. In parts of the track I felt pretty good, but there are spots where the steering still needs to improve. If we can do better in those areas, we should be able to drop the lap time. I feel a little bit closer than Malaysia, but we certainly need to go quicker tomorrow.”