Valentino Rossi was frustrated after failing to make an progress with the set-up of his Ducati GP12 from Thursday practice to Qualifying. The Italian qualified tenth after returning to the settings he'd used 24 hours earlier due to earlier changes making the bike difficult to ride. As a result, Rossi expects to be quick early in the race but faces the likely possibility of falling backwards later on.
“Today obviously didn't go as well as yesterday. Unfortunately, we tried to make a few adjustments in an effort to get the tyre to slide less, but as soon as we load the rear a bit, the bike becomes difficult to ride because I lose a lot of grip on the front. We tried it this morning and a little in the afternoon, but in the end we returned to yesterday's settings. We were also a bit unlucky with the weather, as I had three soft tyres to use in qualifying, but because of the various rain breaks, I was only able to use one. With this setup, maybe I can be a bit more competitive in the first part of the race, but then we'll have to see what pace we're able to do when the tyres start sliding a lot.”
Teammate Nicky Hayden qualified ninth and admitted he'd pretty much extracted everything from his bike. The American is hopeful of racing with the riders ahead but accepts it isn't going to be easy.
“The weather was obviously very strange, but that's something everybody has to deal with. During the first exit, I did a 34.9 with the hard tyre, and as I was fourth at the time, I thought maybe we could do something good today. Then the rain came and I lost the feeling a little bit. In the last exit, with a soft tyre, I managed to improve by a couple of tenths, but it clearly wasn't enough. I'm not happy. I can't say I left a lot out there, but even a tenth would have moved me up a couple of spots. With the group in front of me going fast and consistent, 26 laps around here definitely won't be easy, but we'll try to understand something and see what tomorrow brings.”