Valentino Rossi thinks he has the potential to challenge the satellite Yamahas at Laguna Seca this weekend, despite ending Friday Practice in ninth position. The Ducati rider crashed at the start of his soft tyre run this afternoon and he feels that masked the true pace of his bike.

“I crashed ten minutes from the end of the second session and couldn't use the new soft tyre that we had just put on. It was my mistake because I felt that I had much more grip and immediately pushed hard from the first lap, but I had a hard tyre on the front and when I entered turn three a bit wide, I think it was still a bit cold and I fell. The important thing is I'm fine, but it's still a shame because after that I rode with the hard rear and was sliding too much to improve my time. I think that our potential for being in the second group is pretty good, not far from Crutchlow and Dovizioso. We'll see tomorrow as we continue riding with the setting that I like the most, the one that I crashed with and that I didn't use with the soft tyre today.”

Nicky Hayden's performance seems to back up Rossi's comments with the home rider going seventh quickest, less than two tenths behind Cal Crutchlow in sixth. Hayden, despite announcing a one-year extension to his Ducati contract in the morning, was rather deflated at the end of the day though and was hoping to be closer to the overall pacesetter.

“It's been a tougher day than I was hoping, especially after the great news this morning. In the first session I wasn't going that great, and then on the last exit we had a problem with the brakes. This afternoon we went quite a bit faster, but at the moment, the hard tyre feels a bit too hard and the soft is a bit too soft. We need to choose one and set the bike up to work with it. At Mugello we felt like we were the closest we had been in a long time, so to be over a second off on such a tight track here is just too much. We need to stay calm and chip away at it tomorrow.”