Valentino Rossi - Photo Credit: Ducati

Valentino Rossi - Photo Credit: Ducati

 

Valentino Rossi declared himself happy with Ducati's progress on Saturday despite qualifying ninth on the grid for the Catalunya Grand Prix. The Italian was just 0.880s off pole position and was particularly happy with the GP12 in his race simulation, giving him confidence for the race.

“I'm pretty pleased because we improved the bike's setup and we made the third row, which was our goal for today, even if I really lose a lot in the last part of the track, especially on entry in the last two corners. Anyway, we can also be pretty satisfied with our race pace because I was able to ride well and consistently, even on a used tyre. The forecasts say it could rain tomorrow, and of course we know that we can do well in the wet, although it could also be good for us even if we just get a bit cooler temperatures.”

Teammate Nicky Hayden will start just ahead in seventh and wasn't quite as positive as Rossi. The American was hoping to go faster than he did but admitted he was struggling for consistency with his bike today.

“This morning I did a pretty decent lap time with a hard tyre and thought I could possibly get on the second row, but this afternoon, right from the beginning, I struggled to get the same feeling and had to change a couple of things. I was able to do an okay lap, but truthfully, I thought I could get into the 41s. We'll start seventh tomorrow, which isn't great, but the gap to the front is the smallest it's been all year. We'll certainly have to improve our consistency tomorrow, and race distance could be really tough for tyre wear, but maybe the temperatures will be cooler and help us.”