After a positive start to the 2nd test in Malaysia, the Marlboro Ducati team never really got going, and today, the final day of the test was the worst for both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. Rossi returned to the track after spending yesterday holed up in his hotel after developing flu symptoms, and even though he managed to better his best overall time, the Italian couldn’t find major improvement and finished the day in 11th place.
“We can't be satisfied with this test because we didn't reach our goals, which were to finish close to the top six and especially to reduce the gap to the front.” said a dejected Rossi “Instead, we're 1.8 seconds back, and our rhythm is also lacking. After the first day, we thought we could do it. We had started well and were able to make the bike work with the hard tyres, which is good. After that though, we didn't take steps forward.”
It would seem as though the problems are coming from the chassis, as a pose to any individual component. “Although we have some good ideas for the electronics that I'm optimistic will solve those problems relatively easily, I'm not as confident about the chassis setup. We tried hard, but we haven't yet managed it. I'm able to brake hard, but I'm still having trouble in mid-corner. It was definitely a disadvantage to only ride two days instead of three because we had to rush at the end and try many things in order to understand as much as we could. We were prepared for that possibility, but it started to drizzle, making it impossible to push. There could be some good solutions for the future, but we weren't able to confirm them. This circuit hasn't traditionally been favorable to the Ducati. The next test is in Qatar, where the track is different, so we'll see if we can go faster there.”
Nicky Hayden was in a similar mood, after coming in 12th on the final day. “We've tested a lot of options over the course of this test, like different geometry and electronics.” said Nicky
“We've just been trying to improve the feeling and eliminate stuff that didn't work, focusing mainly on finding a base setup that could work for this season. We're still behind, not because of any major problem, but a combination of little details that prevented us from getting the results that we'd hoped for. I've got a good bike and team, and we definitely need to do better than this. We've got a lot more work to do, but we've made progress this week, and we've still got some options we can try at the next test. It's going to be a competitive season, no doubt. A lot of guys are going fast and pushing hard. We'll have to work hard to try to take full advantage of this bike's potential.”