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Mixed start for Hayden and Rossi in Le Mans

Mixed start for Hayden and Rossi in Le Mans

Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi finished fourth and ninth respectively, during the first two free-practice sessions at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France.

On a day marked by beautiful weather, round four of the 2011 MotoGP campaign kicked off in Le Mans with the opening sessions of the weekend. Hayden was eighth after the morning practice session and then jumped up the timesheets to fourth fastest overall in the second practice. Rossi was sixth quickest after the morning session, but couldn’t match the pace of his team mate in the afternoon session and ended up ninth. The American was positive after the first day and feels the bike has improved, where as the Italian rider was hampered by set up problems and only found a promising change to an issue with the rear, in the final few moments of the practice.

Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

“Today was certainly better than the last few Fridays, by quite a long way. It’s still early and it’s just one day, but the bike felt quite good here straight away. The Portugal test was very useful for me and the team. We thought we made a little step there and it seems like we confirmed that today. Overall, the bike definitely seems a little bit better, but we’ve still got a long way to go, to be that fast consistently. Also, the gap to the very front is still quite a big difference. Le Mans is difficult because it’s not a real grippy track, but we know our bike is really good on hard braking and as I expected, that’s helping us here. Anyway, hopefully this will give us a little bit of momentum, and we’ll keep rolling tomorrow.”

Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team

“For sure I hoped today would go better than that. We had a few problems trying to find the right setting, so we’re too far back today. We’re struggling somewhat on corner exits. The bike moves a lot under acceleration and we’re trying to understand if it’s a question of setup, or one of electronics, because at the moment, I’m having a hard time riding. In the end, we found an interesting change for the rear, but there were just a few minutes left in the session. I only had time for a couple of laps, during which I more or less matched my best time. Maybe with a little more time, I could have dropped another tenth and made up some positions, but tomorrow we definitely have to do much better when we try that setup with more time.”

MotoGP, 2011, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

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