Valentino Rossi had a nightmare start to the German Grand Prix weekend after a heavy crash in the morning was followed by a technical problem in the afternoon.
The first free practice session was barely ten minutes old when Rossi joined the likes of Casey Stoner and Toni Elias to go down at the high-speed turn 11. Unlike the other riders, Rossi slid along the tarmac and suffered a serious graze on his right arm.
“This morning's crash caused a hole in my right arm that looks like a little anatomy lesson because you can see 'inside' as far as the muscle, but I also took a hit on my shoulderâ€”the right one, which was operated on, and which now hurts a little. It's nothing too bad, and I wasn't really affected much today. Let's hope that's also true for tomorrow, especially the shoulder.”
15 minutes into the second session and the weekend took another turn for the worse for the Italian as his Ducati GP11.1 ground to a halt. Rossi returned to the track on his second bike and ended the day in 12th position before shedding light on the problem that interrupted his session.
“We did lose some time for working on the bike's setup, also because I got stranded in the second session. It wasn't due to technical troubles but rather to a small bit of debris that was stuck, causing a precautionary engine shutdown. I think that tomorrow we'll be able to improve because we're working on a setting that's halfway between the Mugello one and the standard one, and we think it will be good for this track.”
Teammate Nicky Hayden finished the day in sixth and Rossi believes the Ducati will perform strongly on the twisty Sachsenring circuit once the team has been able to tweak the set-up.
“At the moment we're losing a lot of time in some sections because although the rear of the GP11.1 is much more stable under acceleration, which is important, we still haven't found a good balance with the front. If we manage to find a compromise, I'll be able to do much better.”
Hayden continued with the GP11 Ducati and made good progress on Friday afternoon despite running the same set of tyres for the full 45 minute session. The American is also cautiously optimistic about the weekend ahead.
“We had good, stable weather all day for the first time in a long time, which makes testing things quite a bit easier. This morning we had a really good session. I came out of the gate strong like you're supposed to and stayed in the top five for most of the time. It wasn't a bad day overall. In both sessions, we went faster with every little change, using the same set of tyres through the whole session. We improved the lap time this afternoon, but it seemed like the improvements were a little bit harder to make. We tried a couple things at the end that felt good but maybe need a little more time and adjustments. We'll see what we can do overnight and where we are tomorrow.”