Ducati Team looks to Laguna Seca for the next step

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The first of two American stops in the 2012 MotoGP™ Championship will take place on Sunday at California’s spectacular Laguna Seca circuit, a beautiful and challenging track that winds through the hills east of Monterrey.

The United States Grand Prix is very special for Nicky Hayden, as it was the site of his first GP victory, in 2005, and of another win the following season while he was on his way to the world title. Valentino Rossi is also fond of the track’s unique atmosphere and old-style layout, which played host to a win for the Italian in 2008, as well as to three additional podium finishes.

The Ducati Team heads to the Californian track off the back of a promising race at Mugello, where it reduced the gap to the front runners, and Rossi recorded his season-best dry result in fifth. In addition to this, the team underwent a four-day test last week in order to resolve the handling issues the riders have been having. Laguna Seca will see the team use engine number four, which is expected to have some of the upgrades to combat certain issues, in particular the bike’s understeer. However, the team has stated that this is not the final or complete upgrade package it is working on.

Valentino Rossi

“Laguna is a difficult track, with many bumps and a lot of elevation change, but at the same time it’s beautiful and fun, in part because it’s rather old-style. I really like the fans and the general feel. Although my last test at Mugello was ended early, we were able to begin working with some details, and we’ll probably be able to use some of them at Laguna, even if we’re talking about a small percentage of the package that they’re working on at Ducati. Last year we went okay at Laguna, so we’ll see what happens this weekend.”

Nicky Hayden

“Of course I like Laguna, so I’m excited to go there and see my home crowd and all my friends in the AMA paddock. We’ve been getting a little closer to the front lately, but now is no time to rest. We have to keep working, because now the gains will be more difficult. Laguna is certainly not easy, and I doubt the lap times will be much different with the 1000s than they were with the 800s. I’m not even sure we’ll use sixth gear, and as was the case at the Sachsenring, we’ll probably spend a lot of time working with the wheelie control and just trying to use that power when it’s available. The new tyres should work better at Laguna, especially in the colder mornings and on the right side. My goal is clear: go there, have fun, and try to get the best result of the season.”

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