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Rossi delighted with first Ducati podium, Hayden “best weekend” yet

Rossi delighted with first Ducati podium, Hayden “best weekend” yet

Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi secured a memorable rostrum finish at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, his first in Ducati team colours. Rossi finished third after a great battle with Dovizioso. Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) finished seventh.

In the fourth round of the 2011 season, MotoGP action arrived to Le Mans and it was a race full of incident, in front of a packed crowd of 88,400 fans with 176,200 in attendance over the three days. After progressing from ninth place on the grid, Rossi found himself sparring with Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, he was able to move through on the Spaniard but entered into a dice with the Repsol Honda rider in the final laps for the second spot on the podium. Despite passing his fellow Italian on several occasions, Dovizioso was able to regain second position and finish ahead of his compatriot for back to back races. Rossi took his eighth premier class rostrum finish at the Le Mans circuit with his best result of the season.

Hayden who had showed much promise over the weekend, was frustrated with his race performance finishing in seventh, after being in the top five in cooler conditions during the race weekend. However the American still felt it was the best weekend of the season so far for him and the team and is hoping to achieve more in the next succession of races in three weeks time.

Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team

“We’re very pleased with this podium because we’re on the right path and especially because I had fun today. I rode the Desmosedici well, I was fast in the technical parts of the track, I felt good from start to finish and I had good lap times. This morning we made a final change to the setting and it helped cut another couple of tenths. I knew I could beat Lorenzo, so that was my goal. I also passed Dovizioso at one point, but I got a little confused and made a move on the penultimate lap instead of the last one. I lost my concentration momentarily, but in short, he got me again. Anyway, it’s fine like this; I’m happy for myself and for my team as this result boosts our morale. We still have to keep working and improving though, because there’s more to be done. I also have to improve and keep adapting my style to the Ducati, because I’m still not riding it as I should, but in the meanwhile, we’ll enjoy today’s nice race and podium.”

Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

“We didn’t do ourselves any favours by starting 10th, but actually, we made a little step forward with the bike today. I got a decent start but was just really tight and lost some time. As the race got going, I was able to move up a bit and slowly bring back Spies and Edwards and then Colin crashed. Once I got in front of Spies, I wasn’t really able to get down in the 1’34s and get away like I needed to. Seventh isn’t a great result for us, but I would say that overall, it’s probably been our best weekend yet. When the track was cold, I was able to go quite fast—always in the top five in those conditions. I hoped for better in the race, but I’m looking forward to the next stretch; we’re about to really get into the season.”

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

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