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Stoner and Hayden stand by British GP tyre gamble

Stoner and Hayden stand by British GP tyre gamble

Ducati Marlboro riders pay the price for running wet weather tyres.

What could have been the tactical masterstroke of the season ended up being a gamble that didn’t pay off for Ducati Marlboro at Donington. The decision to run wet tyres for the British Grand Prix appeared to make some degree of sense -Casey Stoner had topped the wet morning warmup session and Nicky Hayden had been in good form- although in practice the track was not sufficiently sodden for the move.

"Everybody knows I’ve been struggling for the last few races in the dry so I was praying for the rain to come today,” said Stoner after the race, in which he placed fourteenth and suffered the indignity of being lapped at the track where he had twice won MotoGP rounds. “Every single lap we were out there it threatened to pour down and we were very close to having the perfect situation. Unfortunately, even though it got heavier, it didn’t come soon enough and our tyres were destroyed so it ended up being the wrong decision.

“For us, in our current situation, I still think it was a risk worth taking because it could have worked out fantastically but obviously we’re disappointed it didn’t,” he added, sticking by the choice.

Fifteenth-placed Hayden had less to lose than his teammate, with no title challenge on which to focus. He was slightly less convinced as to whether to run the wet tyre risk, but in the end made the final call –despite having been informed that every other rider on the grid would be on slicks.

“We agreed on it together with the team but it was my shout, I thought ‘let’s try and be a hero here!’ The tyre was pretty much destroyed after seven or eight laps but there was no point coming in to pit and it came apart five laps from the end. To be honest it’s amazing how it held together for that long! I don’t want to say it was a mistake; it was just a gamble that didn’t pay off and we’ll learn from it,” lamented the American.

The brave decision had come after the initial sighting lap, during which both riders had expressed concerns over a lack of grip.

MotoGP, 2009, BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team

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