Valentino Rossi admitted the Ducati team were caught out by the rapidly improving track conditions after he finished Friday practice in 11th place. The newly resurfaced track offered significantly greater grip in FP2 than in FP1 and the Italian admitted the team didn't expect such a drastic change.
“This morning the track conditions were really critical. There was no grip, and it seemed like we were riding in the wet. Things improved a lot in the afternoon though, which is a sign that the asphalt is good and that it was just very dirty since it hadn't been ridden on yet. It's also a good sign for tomorrow because the conditions should continue to improve. Also, there are fewer bumps, so they did a good job. As for us, we didn't expect the grip to improve so much this afternoon and we had to chase a setup the whole session, as I really couldn't feel the bike. Tomorrow we'll completely change the balance. Nicky didn't go bad, so we'll try to improve as well: the step forward that we made at Brno is still there. We just tried a set up a little too strange since we didn't expect the conditions to change so much from one session to the next.”
Teammate Nicky Hayden appeared to make a positive start to the weekend on a circuit that has been kind to him in the past. The American, twice on the podium at Indianapolis, was significantly faster than his teammate but expected to be a lot quicker than his eventual eighth place.
“It definitely took a few laps to feel out the new surface and get some rubber down this morning, but toward the end of the afternoon session, you could really start carrying some speed in a few corners. I have to remember that I probably need a little bit of time to understand the bike, and the team needs more time to understand which direction to work. Still, we're too far off the pace for my home track, and I certainly had hoped to be faster today. We'll just stay positive and keep working toward Sunday. The new bike definitely does some things better, but we've got to get some weight to transfer to the front so that I can get it to turn.”