Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were both encouraged by the performance of the GP11.1 in Friday's wet practice sessions at Valencia. Rossi and Hayden were third and fourth respectively as conditions improved at the end of FP1 but the Italian struggled for grip in the second session, finishing down in seventh.
Rossi put the drop-off in performance down to a wrong direction taken with the set-up and believes the team have a chance to punch above their weight if the rain continues into the weekend.
“Our bike works very well in the wet, so this morning I was able to push and to stay up there near the front. In the afternoon we had a few more problems because we made a mistake with the rear setting. I couldn't manage to find grip under acceleration, or to ride the bike well like in the morning. I should add that we're a bit on the limit regarding the asphalt conditions, because it's very worn and has terrible grip. The rain and the cold make it worse, and it's very difficult to ride. We'll have to see how to proceed throughout the weekend, because if it stays wet, we could do pretty well. If it improves, we'll have to see how we are in the dry.”
In contrast to his teammate, Hayden was in tremendous form in second practice, leading for much of the session before losing the top spot to Alvaro Bautista. The American was pleased with the feeling of the bike although he admitted to slight disappointment having missed out on top spot.
“This was actually the first time I've ever ridden the GP11.1 in the wet, and I was really happy with how it felt. The track was extremely slippery. We came from Malaysia and Australia, where the surface would dry in no time, but here, even when it would stop raining, it just wouldn't dry. The grip was really low, especially on corner entry, but we made a few steps through the day that seemed to help. I'm not going to lie; it would've been nice to end up in P1, even though it's just Friday afternoon, but we spent a lot of time at the top and put up quite a few red helmets (the monitor's indication for a best time in a sector or lap). We'll see what the weather does tomorrow, but regardless, we got some good information.”