Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi had very contrasting emotions at the end of the British Grand Prix after finishing seventh and ninth respectively. Hayden was running in the leading group early in the race before his pace fell away. Despite that, the American was pleased to see the overall gap closing to the leaders.
“We did the sighting lap with the hard rear tyre, but with the sprinkles and dark clouds, we decided to play it safe and switch to the soft on the grid. Everybody else had it too, but we know our bike has been hard on tyres here. I got an awesome start, and the beginning of the race was great. I took some chances to hang in as long as I could, and I enjoyed it and learned some things. Then the grip went, which brought on a lot of chatter. I couldn't accelerate or carry speed on the straightaway, and we started having a little problem with the electronics in one corner, which cost us some time. Crutchlow got me on the last lap, which is frustrating, but I had my smallest gaps to the front this year in terms of race time and best lap. We need to figure out how to make me and the bike less hard on the rear tyre, but there were some positives.”
Rossi was never on the level of his teammate on a circuit which he has never fared well on and the nine-time world champion accepted the true performance of the bike was shown by the no.69 on Sunday.
“It was a difficult weekend apart from the wet first session, in which we were very strong, as we had trouble in every dry session except for this morning's warm-up. From the start of the race, I wasn't able to maintain the pace of the others. I tried to stay with them, but I struggled a lot with mid-corner chatter, and a couple of times I came close to losing control of the bike. After some laps, the rear tyre started to slide a lot, and at the same time an exhaust broke. To be honest, that didn't affect us so much, though it did rob some power on the straightaway. We scored a few points, but Silverstone is still the most difficult track for me. I think that the 'true' Ducati today was that of Nicky, who had a smaller gap to the front at the finish, more or less the level we reached in Barcelona. Now we must try to understand why I was only able to ride a bit better this morning, in the warm-up, but above all we must try to be more competitive in the next race, at Assen, which is a track that I like and where we want to return to the level we had at Estoril, Le Mans, and Barcelona.”