The Ducati team didn’t make it to the podium last weekend in Qatar at the opening round of the 2011 MotoGP season, but Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, and the Ducati team gave it their best effort.
Rossi, who finished in 7th place during the opening race, says that his shoulder is still limiting his ability. Rossi is pleased with the Ducati machine, but says that there is still room for improvement.
“For sure we’re not here to get seventh-place finishes, but there are also positive things from this race, starting with the times, because we were lapping pretty quickly,” Rossi said. “I had a great start, and that was a nice feeling because the horsepower that this bike has really helps it to launch. Then I made a small error in the first turn, which is a shame because I got stuck behind Barbera for a few laps.
“At the end of the race, I’m no longer able to ride like I have to. I’m not referring to the Ducati because even last year, after I hurt my shoulder, I had the same problems in the latter parts of the races, and since the two bikes are so different, it means that it’s really a matter of me not being physically right.
“It’s not just that. We also have to improve the bike because the others have clearly made a step forward since last year. Still, I learned a lot in this test and in this race, and we’ve already given very specific instructions about what must be done in the long term, in order to improve for the second half of the season for example. In the near term, on the other hand, we’ll work on the setup, we’ll keep gathering experience, and I’ll continue exercising and doing everything I can to recuperate physically.”
Nicky Hayden was also a little disappointed with his finish. Hayden got off to a bad start and had to fight from the back of the grid to claim 9th at the race’s end.
“I got a bad start in the race, and then when De Puniet crashed, I just about ran over him and had to come to a complete stop,” Hayden said. “I’m happy I didn’t run into him, but that was a bad break, because I was dead last with a gap to the next person.
“I started picking my way through, and once I got into ninth, I got into a decent rhythm and started doing my pace. I was trying to catch Edwards because I thought it would’ve been nice to have a last-lap race with him, but I didn’t quite get to him. It’s been a tough weekend for me on and off the track, but everybody around here is working to the maximum. They’re the first ones in and the last ones out. I can’t be happy with the ride, but I came from dead last, and my fastest lap was my last one. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s just one race, and no one can say we weren’t trying.”
The Ducati team will have two weeks to get ready for the next race of the 2011 MotoGP season. The MotoGP riders will return to the grid on April 3rd in Spain.
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com