Valentino Rossi was relieved to leave Silverstone with ten points in the bag after salvaging sixth from his most difficult weekend of the season.
The Italian was competing at the Northamptonshire circuit for the first time and never looked comfortable. After a poor qualifying session, he was forced to start on the back row of the 15-man grid.
But Rossi stayed out of trouble to finish in the top six, although he was nowhere near the race winning Repsol Hondas, and felt he and team achieved the maximum result possible.
“Without a doubt, this weekend was the most difficult so far this season, but we at least managed to do a good job of limiting the damage. Considering how we came into the race, sixth place is a fairly positive result that helps us to stay not too far from the top of the standings in fourth, which isn't bad. We knew that my lack of experience here compared to the others would hurt us, but it's also true that we haven't managed to improve our setup as well as we should have.”
“In fact, today Nicky managed to have a nice race and ride well, even setting the fastest lap, which demonstrates that the Ducati is competitive in the wet. We didn't improve enough though, and that made it hard for me, as the bike was difficult to ride and I couldn't push hard. We're all responsibleâ€”me, the bike, and the teamâ€”so together we'll try to improve and return to the level we were at in Le Mans and Catalunya as soon as possible, and then take another step forward.”
Teammate Nicky Hayden had the edge in the Ducati camp all weekend and that continued on race day, with the American taking a comfortable fourth.
Hayden was chasing down Colin Edwards in the final stages but couldn't quite snatch the final podium spot from his fellow countryman. The 29 year old expected more before the race but accepted that fourth was the best he could have hoped for in the end.
“To be honest, I really liked my chances for a podium in the rain today; if you'd have told me before the race that I could have fourth, I'd have said, 'No thanks, I can do better,' but I'm not disappointed with my ride. I didn't get a great start because the clutch was jumpy, and for the first few laps, it was hard to see and to get heat in the tyres. I had a big moment on the exit of Turn 1 and actually jarred my shoulder pretty good, but I tried to hang in there. I saw Colin in front of me for the podium, and I really pushed. I think that's the first time I've ever had the fastest lap on a Ducati, which is kind of cool even if you don't get points for it. Full respect to Colin a week after breaking his collarbone, but I still don't like him beating me for the podium! Thanks to the team. It hasn't been an easy weekend for us, but we kept trying and got a pretty good chunk of points. We'll take it and move on.”
Team manager Vittoriano Guareschi was encouraged by Hayden's pace at the end of the race but was concerned with the struggles Rossi encountered. The team are determined to close the gap on the leaders at the next round in the Netherlands.
“It was a very challenging weekend, but we still ended it with a fairly good team result. Nicky rode very well in the race, and if he hadn't come close to crashing early on, I think he could have done even better. After a high-side like the one he had, which allowed Spies and Edwards by, you need a little time to re-find your rhythm. He rode better than anyone else in the late laps, but the gap was too big to make up. In any case, he felt good on the bike, as we managed to find a good wet setup that he liked a lot.”
“Unfortunately, that was not the case for Valentino, who never managed to find a good feeling. We must figure out why that was the case at this particular Grand Prix, then return to the positive trend of improvements that we had been on since the first race.”