Valentino Rossi's qualifying session was ruined from a very early stage at Indianapolis on Saturday after a crash early in the session left him on his back foot. The Ducati star lost the front end of the GP11.1 on his first run and could only salvage 14th on the spare bike.
With the other machine set-up differently, Rossi admitted he was never truly comfortable, explaining his lowly grid position.
“We took a nice step forward this morning that we hoped to confirm in qualifying, and instead I fell right away. We really could have done without that crash, but the front closed right when I touched the brake. From there, the whole session was difficult because the second bike had a slightly different setup. I lost one pair of new tyres and I had to start with a set of used ones. I wasn't able to get back the feeling from this morning, when the bike felt better and I could push harder. It's really a shame because we wanted to try to start from the second row again, like at Brno, and instead we'll have to work hard tomorrow. Anyway, we'll give our best effort in the race because we weren't so far off this morning.”
Teammate Nicky Hayden will start from the third row after qualifying eighth but the American was hoping to reward his fans with a better result. Nevertheless, he is hopeful that race day will bring an improvement.
“Compared to yesterday, we had wanted to take a step forward in qualifying, but I got a bit confused this morning, and my feedback to the team wasn't as good as it should have been. This bike is new for us, and we still need more experience with it. Anyway, we still salvaged the third row in the end, which is better than I was. Tyre wear is going to be a big question mark for me. I'm sorry for my fans and the Ducati supporters who want to see us qualifying up front, but we'll give it our best tomorrow. They say there may be cooler weather, which normally helps us a little bit, so maybe we'll catch a break.”