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End of first session gives Stoner and Hayden positive feelings

End of first session gives Stoner and Hayden positive feelings

The final part of Friday practice at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France produced encouraging results for the Ducati Marlboro riders.

Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden worked hard throughout the hour-long practice at Le Mans on Friday to finish the session satisfied with the outcome of their individual sessions, finishing with the second and seventh fastest times respectively.

Stoner took some time to adjust to new handlebars on his Desmosedici GP10, and once he became comfortable with the change he set his best time of 1’34.508 on the 19th of his 23 laps, placing him just 0.106s off quickest rider Valentino Rossi.

"To be honest we had a fairly good session. It didn’t start off so well because we’re trying some new handlebars - we’ve made them a lot stronger so that if we ever have a small ‘off’ in a race we’ve got a better chance of picking the bike up and continuing,” explained Stoner. “We didn’t have the position quite right at the start so we had to spend a little time fixing that but from there on we made gradual progress.”

“The initial feeling with the bike wasn’t great but it felt better once we stiffened things up both front and rear. Always when you go stiffer you lose a little grip so it was a case of playing around with the rear suspension and tyre pressures to find some traction. By the end I felt comfortable and we’re satisfied to be in the hunt because we feel this is a circuit that maybe suits some of our rivals more than us,” concluded the Australian.

Hayden, for whom the Le Mans track has been a challenge in the past, improved as the session went on thanks to some successful fine tuning of his bike’s set-up. The American was 0.821s off the lead time by the end of the practice, and praised his team for making his machine faster.

“For some reason whenever I come to Le Mans nothing comes easy to me and that was certainly the case for a bit today,” said Hayden. “For the last run the team did a great job, changing a few things with the electronics to get more traction and less pumping and also a change to the rear shock that improved the feeling quite a lot. That gave me a half second over the last couple of laps and the feeling was a lot better.”

Hayden added: “We’re still a long way from the front group but I definitely feel better after that last run and hopefully we found a direction. I always expect a hard weekend here and this one won’t be any different but I’m feeling positive after today.”

MotoGP, 2010, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner, Ducati Team

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