The Marlboro Ducati team leave Le Mans after a surprise podium appearance from Valentino Rossi. The veteran Italian started well and kept up with Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso in the middle of the pack. After looking threatening throughout the race, Rossi made his move just after the halfway point, passing the Honda rider, then the Yamaha.
After further scraps with Dovizioso, and gaining positions due to other riders misfortune, Rossi lost out on 2nd place, but held on to claim his first podium finish for Ducati.
“We're very pleased with this podium because we're on the right path, and especially because I had fun today.” said Rossi. “I rode the Desmosedici well, I felt good from start to finish and I had good lap times. This morning we made a last change to the setting, and it helped cut another couple of tenths. I knew I could beat Lorenzo, so that was my goal.”
He continued, “I also passed Dovi at one point, but I got a little confused and made a move on the penultimate lap instead of the last one. I lost my concentration momentarily, but in short, he got me again. Anyway, it's fine like this; I'm happy for myself, for my team, and for all the boys at Ducati. This result boosts our morale. We still have to keep working and improving though, because there's more to be done. I also have to improve and keep adapting my style to the Ducati, because I'm still not riding it as I should, but in the meanwhile, we'll enjoy today's nice race and podium.”
Nicky Hayden had a quiet race in 7th. After a great start from the fourth row, the only major incident in his race was fighting over 6th place with Ben Spies, and although he lost out to his fellow countryman in the end, he was pleased with the progress made over the course of the weekend. “We didn't do ourselves any favors by starting 10th, but actually, we made a little step forward with the bike today.” he said.
“I got a decent start but was just really tight and lost some time. As the race got going, I was able to move up a bit and slowly bring back Spies and Colin. Colin crashed, but once I got in front of Ben, I wasn't really able to get down in the 34s and get away like I needed to. Seventh isn't a great result for us, but I would say that overall, it's probably been our best weekend yet. When the track was cold, I was able to go quite fastâ€”always in the top five in those conditions. I hoped for better in the race, but I'm looking forward to the next stretch; we're about to really get into the season.”