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Stoner and Hayden pleased but still seeking more

Stoner and Hayden pleased but still seeking more

The Australian will start on the front row at Mugello and feels his Desmosedici GP10 needs a little more to compete for the win. Team-mate Hayden was just a tenth of a second behind to qualify in fourth.

Ducati Marlboro pair Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden will start the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM from third and fourth place respectively on the grid after an eventful session that saw both hold second spot before securing their eventual placements.

Stoner was extremely pleased to have taken the final spot on the front row but outlined a big task still to be tackled, as his best time was 0.613s off that of pole position holder’s Dani Pedrosa.

"To start from the front row is always a positive thing but even if I’d love to say this lap time shows we’re ready to race tomorrow, we’re far from it. To be competitive with Jorge and Dani and to run with them consistently we’re going to have to find six-tenths at least,” said Stoner.

“We’ve been trying a lot of things, including going back to last year’s forks, which I’ve got a lot of feedback from, but now we are just trying to get the bike turning well and reacting well over the bumps, things like that. If we can find something tomorrow in warm-up we’re in a good position.”

Before then Stoner and his crew will work hard to find that something highlighted by the rider, and he also offered his best wishes to Valentino Rossi following the Italian’s injury. “We have some work to do tonight – I’m going to sit down with the team and see what we can come up with for the race,” said Stoner. “I feel sorry for Valentino because all three guys on the front row know what it’s like to be injured and miss races. It will be hard for him to even train so I wish him all the best with his recovery.”

Fourth spot has become something of a recurring number for Hayden this season having finished each of the three races so far in that position, and the American was satisfied with his place at the head of the second row after a weekend that had asked some questions of his bike.

“Things haven’t been silky smooth in free practice and qualifying was tough too, so considering how the weekend has gone fourth is not a disaster, but we need to make it better in the warm-up,” he said. “The team has done a good job but still we need to soak up the bumps a little better because this track has become really bumpy in a few places. The good thing is our engine is really fast and that’s going to be important tomorrow. We’ll try our best and just give everything for those Ducati fans.”

Hayden added: “It’s a real bummer about Valentino because on the track he’s a warrior. He’s good for the racing, he’s good for the show and even though he never makes it easy for us we all respect him and nobody wants to see a colleague in pain like that. I’m sorry for him and his fans and just wish him to get well soon.”

MotoGP, 2010, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA TIM, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

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