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Rossi rues strategy, hard day for Hayden

Rossi rues strategy, hard day for Hayden

The third round of the MotoGP World Championship, at the Portuguese circuit, saw Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi finish in fifth place after being pipped by Andrea Dovizioso on the line of the very last lap. Team mate Nicky Hayden had a tough race after contact with fellow American, Ben Spies and he eventually finished in ninth.

Rossi started well from the third row and made up more positions on the first lap, bringing him to fourth place. From there, the Italian maintained a good rhythm for the entire race, holding off Andrea Dovizioso until the very end, when the Repsol Honda rider slipped by in the race to the line and finished in front of the Ducati by just twenty-five thousandths of a second.

Starting from the fifth row, Nicky Hayden also had a very strong launch, and the American was seventh after the first lap. A small shifting problem affected him a little, but it was mainly the contact with Spies that caused him to lose ground to the opposition in front. Tomorrow the Ducati Team will stay for a post-race test with the other MotoGP teams, the riders are hopeful for good weather for so that the team can continue its development of the GP11.

Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team

“Apart from Dovizioso, today went well! I’m joking, but Dovizioso obviously rode a race that was strategically perfect. I think he played with me a little, knowing that on the straight, he could probably beat me to the line. He couldn’t pass me because I was strong on the brakes, so he had me do all the work for 28 laps, before making his attempt, and he got me by twenty-five thousandths of a second. Apart from that, the team and I are very happy, because it was a nice race and this, for the time being, is the best we can do. I started well, I made up several positions, and then I was very consistent, with decent lap times. I practically did the same lap from qualifying 28 times, so it’s a good result. My only disappointment is that fourth would have been my best finish with the Ducati Team. Anyway, another positive is that I’m physically well, as I’m missing just fifteen percent of my strength, but I think I’ll be at 100 percent between Le Mans and Catalunya. As for the bike, there’s certainly still work to do, but we’re working together with the Ducati technicians. They’re pleased with the data they have, and I’m seeing that what I get from the racing department works. It will take some time, but we’re going forward. Tomorrow we’ll have some new things to try, so let’s hope that it’s dry, and we’ll see how it goes. We don’t expect to solve everything in seven hours, just to continue down the path we’ve started on together.”

Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

“Starting from 13th, it was always going to be difficult for us, but the bike was good off the line and I got a good start. I made some early mistakes, but I was also recovering a few positions. I got into seventh, but I was having difficulty back-shifting. Already on the sighting lap, I knew it was an issue. On the grid, we talked about getting on the other bike, but we decided together, that it was better to stick with our bike and not start from the pitlane. It caused some difficulty, especially on corner entry, and some guys came past. Then Spies hit me pretty good and stood me up going into Turn 3, so I lost time to Hiroshi Aoyama and Cal Crutchlow. I’m really happy we have a test tomorrow. We’ve got some stuff to try, and hopefully we’ll get some good weather, because we lost some dry time this weekend with the rain. The bike was great in the wet—third Friday and fourth this morning—but we need to make it better in the dry.”

MotoGP, 2011, bwin GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

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