After taking a step forward in the third free practice session Saturday morning, a crash at the start of qualifying affected Valentino Rossi’s performance.
Despite immediately returning to the garage, the Italian was unable to use his first bike or its set of fresh tyres again in the session, and the nine time World Champion finish the qualifying in fourteenth, leaving him to start from the fifth row for Sunday’s race.
Nicky Hayden was able to improve his pace by over a second and a half over his best time set on Friday, posting the eighth best time, and will start his home Grand Prix from the third row.
Nicky Hayden: “Compared to yesterday, we had wanted to take a step forward in qualifying, but I got a bit confused this morning, and my feedback to the team wasn’t as good as it should have been. This bike is new for us, and we still need more experience with it. Anyway, we still salvaged the third row in the end, which is better than I was. Tyre wear is going to be a big question mark for me. I’m sorry for my fans and the Ducati supporters who want to see us qualifying up front, but we’ll give it our best tomorrow. They say there may be cooler weather, which normally helps us a little bit, so maybe we’ll catch a break”
Valentino Rossi: “We took a nice step forward this morning that we hoped to confirm in qualifying, and instead I fell right away. We really could have done without that crash, but the front closed right when I touched the brake. From there, the whole session was difficult because the second bike had a slightly different setup. I lost one pair of new tyres and I had to start with a set of used ones. I wasn’t able to get back the feeling from this morning, when the bike felt better and I could push harder. It’s really a shame because we wanted to try to start from the second row again, like at Brno, and instead we’ll have to work hard tomorrow. Anyway, we’ll give our best effort in the race because we weren’t so far off this morning.”