Ducati Make Solid Start To Assen Weekend

Nicky Hayden was happy with the feeling from his Ducati GP12 machine during Thursday Practice and is feeling positive ahead of today's qualifying session. The 2006 World Champion was third fastest behind Ben Spies and Cal Crutchlow and with Ducati's weakness lying in their race pace, Nicky is planning to work on that in final practice on Friday morning.

“I really like the Assen track, and the weather was perfect today. The team had some good ideas, and we tried a couple of things. I enjoyed riding the bike, and the day went pretty well. This morning we used the hard tyre for the entire session, and I was able to improve the rhythm in the last exit, with a tyre that had quite a few laps on it. This afternoon we didn't make any big adjustments because the bike is working pretty well at the moment. Tomorrow we're going to work on making the bike better at changing direction, and we'll keep trying to make it better for race distance.”

Teammate Valentino Rossi was ninth quickest but only 0.430s separated him from the ultimate pace. Like Hayden, the Italian is happy with the bike's performance in qualifying-spec but agrees that they need to improve it on old tyres to stand a chance in the race.

“Today went pretty well, especially in the afternoon. I'm eighth, but the gap to the front is only four tenths, which is a decent step forward for us. Now the bike works well with new tyres, but we have to keep working on our race pace. Both Nicky and I start sliding a lot when the tyre is worn, so we have to slow down too much compared to the others. Tomorrow, in order to be more consistent and improve the pace, we must try to improve rear grip without losing it at the front. Anyway, today wasn't a bad start.”