Valentino Rossi feels the Ducati team have taken a step forward in their development of the GP11.1 machine after securing his best grid position of the year in the Czech Republic. The six-time Brno winner will start tomorrow's race from the second row and believes he is now in a position to make continued progress on the 2012 chassis, starting in the warm-up.
“We took a step forward today by changing the front setting again and also modifying the riding position on the bike. We were also good in the wet this morning; actually, it was a really fun session, being there near the front the whole time. It's been a good weekend so far, although of course nothing earth-shattering, as I'm only sixth. Anyway, it's my best qualifying position of the season with the Ducati, which I'm also able to ride better this way, especially under braking and on corner entry.”
“During tomorrow's warm-up, we'll try to further improve the rear grip in the first two sectors, where I'm losing the most time. In the second half of the track, I'm only losing about a tenth. We're pleased because we've learned a few things and, after an initial period of adaptation, we're able to work on the GP11.1 in a more productive way”
Teammate Nicky Hayden will start ninth but after a problematic weekend, the former World Champion admitted that a place on the third row is much better than it could have been.
“In the end, we salvaged ninth, but it wasn't easy getting there. All weekend, it's just been really hard in the dry, because the bike was spinning and wouldn't hold the line. This morning in the wet was great right from the exit. With our standard rain setup, I was never outside the top five, from the start to the finish, but this afternoon in the dry was hard work. We came back in a lot and changed things, but without finding a right direction. Finally, with about 20 minutes to go, we hit on something with the ride height where I was able to keep the line and could begin to push, and in the end, I was able to get into the 57s. To get on the third row is obviously nothing spectacular, but it's much better than how things were looking. Hopefully, following that direction tomorrow will keep helping us.”