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Rossi encouraged by steps forward as Hayden finds late surge

Rossi encouraged by steps forward as Hayden finds late surge

The Ducati Team rider qualified sixth for the Cardion ab Grand Prix České republiky at Brno, with team-mate Nicky Hayden in ninth.

Some changes to riding position paid dividends for Valentino Rossi on Saturday at Brno as the Italian qualified on the second row for Sunday’s race, setting the sixth fastest time in qualifying for his best grid start of the season so far.

“Sixth position is nothing fantastic but I am satisfied because we worked better during the practice and we reduced the gap to the top guys step by step,” said the Ducati rider, who ended the hour-long QP 0.776s off pole man Dani Pedrosa. “To be on the second row is a good start because it’s our best qualification of the season and also we are not so far from some Hondas and Yamahas.”

He continued: “We made some modifications to the bike today with the front and my position on the bike, and I feel better with the front and can push more on (corner) entry. So I enjoyed today. We still have some problems with acceleration and sliding, so if we can fix this tomorrow then maybe we can have a good race.”

After a wet morning practice the premier class enjoyed dry condition for qualifying, and Rossi added: “I hope it’s dry tomorrow because it looks like the weather is not fantastic. Tyre choice I think we’ll go with the soft for the rear, and we have some modifications to increase the rear grip and the speed in the change of direction, so we have to try tomorrow morning.”

On the other side of the Ducati Team garage Nicky Hayden will start from the third row after timing in ninth fastest, and the American made a breakthrough in the final quarter of the session.

“In the end it was much better than how this morning had been going, the rain hurt us because we needed some time to figure out some stuff in the dry, because yesterday we found nothing in the dry and weren’t going forward,” said Hayden. “In the rain the bike was really good out of the box, and normally I need a little time in the rain but the whole session I was in the top five. But then qualifying was quite the opposite, I was down the whole way, but with 15 minutes we found something and I could push a bit and was able to pull out one or two laps. I know tomorrow will be a long, hard day. We’ll see if we can sweeten it up in the morning and try and go in the same direction.”

Discussing tyre choice, Hayden continued: “It looks like we’ll go with a hard front and soft rear. I tried the hard rear yesterday afternoon but it just didn’t give enough grip, especially on the left side. The hard just hasn’t been an option for us the last few races, but the soft’s working pretty well and we did a lot of laps on them so we don’t expect any problems. Some of the long corners I’m losing a lot of time and some of the chicanes I lose a bit in the first which knocks on, so hopefully we can do a better job tomorrow.”

MotoGP, 2011, CARDION AB GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY, Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team

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