The Ducati squad of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi headed out on to the Mugello track again today for qualifying ahead of tomorrows Italian Grand Prix, but their efforts were stalled by yet more rain. After around 30 minutes of the session, the rain clouds that were looming over the Tuscan circuit finally let loose and effectively ruined any chance for anyone to improve their times.
Nicky Hayden was again the fastest Ducati on track, and on their home grand prix the American finished the session in 9th place. After finding a decent setup in the mornings practice session, Hayden was unable to capitalise on it in the qualifying session, but will hope for dry weather tomorrow.
“This morning we made a couple little improvements with the bike and were feeling quite good. We didn't put in a new soft tyre at the end, so the gap looked worse than it was.” said Hayden.
He continued, “I felt confident, but this afternoon the conditions were crazy. It was spotting rain in the beginning, but everybody put their heads down and went out full-gas. Then the conditions got worse and it was a shame for the fans that we were all sitting in the garage when we'd normally be doing a time attack. It rained yesterday and today around race time, so I went out for a little at the end and had a look at the new surface in the wet, just in case. The tyre choice is going to be interesting because we really haven't had any afternoon track time in the dry. I can't be happy starting ninth at Ducati's home race, but we'll try to make our fans proud.”
For Valentino Rossi, the troubles he has suffered so far continued, as he has still been looking for an improved setup for his GP11.1. Having lost time in the Friday sessions, and at the onset of the rain today, he is still trying to find more grip around the difficult circuit.
Rossi will line up in 12th, and said after the session, “We had many things to try and the rain this afternoon ruined our plans, but that's no excuse for the gap, as the conditions were the same for everyone. It's true that we lost yesterday's morning session, and that we're still working on development. We expected to go better at Mugello, and instead we struggled here as well.”
He continued, “I don't feel good with the front, so I lose a lot on corner entry, and I can't ride the bike well. As for the rear, we've made progress, and the GP11.1 has solved some issues. Acceleration is better, but we still have to work with the front. Obviously, we'll try our best in the race, although it will be hard, but in any case we'll gather experience that will be useful in the future.”