Ducati Team hope for dry race at Le Mans

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Ducati Team heads to the fourth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France hoping for dry weather to capitalize on the positives found in Estoril.

Valentino Rossi, who recorded his season-best finish last time out in Portugal in seventh, was more upbeat about the Desmosedici at the end of the race and will look to take this form and more into the Le Mans round. Not only will he take confidence from having secured his only podium finish here last year, but also that his gap to Estoril race winner Casey Stoner was only 26 seconds – the closest any Ducati rider has finished to the race winner since Rossi finished seventh at Misano last year.

His teammate Nicky Hayden, who had a torrid outing in Estoril due to electronics issues, is looking to put that weekend behind him and get back to the form he showed during Jerez qualifying, where he put the Ducati on the front row. He doesn’t count the French circuit among his favourites, yet thinks some of its characteristics could be a good match for his Ducati.

Ducati announced after Estoril that it has planned an extensive testing schedule for new engine parts and chassis components, set to be completed before the Laguna Seca race on 29th July. For now though, the team will head to France with the same set-up as used in Estoril.

Valentino Rossi

"It’s a shame that we lost the post-race test in Portugal because we would have continued our development work, and as we had very recent data from the race, we could have made some interesting comparisons. Still, this won’t influence us much from a technical point of view at Le Mans, as any updates would have arrived later anyway. In France, we’ll prepare for the race by working on the bike like we did at Estoril, starting from the base setup that we’re now a bit more familiar with and trying to continue with the settings one step at a time, in such a way that we reach Sunday at the maximum of our current potential. Le Mans is another place where the weather can be challenging, particularly at this time of year, but it’s also the track where I had my best result with the Ducati last year. We’ll see how it goes, but we’d like to do a little better than we did in Portugal."

Nicky Hayden

"I certainly wouldn’t say Le Mans is my favourite track on the calendar, but there are some things that I like about it. Sometimes it lacks grip somewhat, which I don’t like so much. On the other hand, it has a fair amount of hard braking, and I think some of those parts should suit our bike well. It will also be interesting to be at a different type of track compared to what we’ve seen so far this year."

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

"Le Mans is a bit strange, a classic stop-and-go track that’s very different from Estoril. This will give us an opportunity to check the work that we’re doing on the GP12’s setup: Valentino used it all weekend at the last GP, so we’ll continue like that in an effort to also make progress at Le Mans, where he had a really nice race last year. Though this isn’t one of Nicky’s preferred circuits, he’ll also use the experience he has gathered while using this setup on the GP12 since the start of the championship."

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