In a hot qualifying session during which traction was scarce and crashes were common, Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso kept their Desmosedici GP13 machines upright and finished with the seventh and ninth-best times, respectively, putting them at opposite ends of the third row for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.
After having the season’s first two qualifying sessions affected by a fluke problem with his wheel, the American was pleased to have a largely drama-free Q2 today at Jerez despite still dealing with a swollen right wrist. Like most of the riders, Dovizioso struggled with a lack of grip in the warm conditions, but he was pleased to improve upon his bike setup from yesterday.
Although Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro didn’t make it into the Q2 session, his good performance in Q1 put him on the fifth row for tomorrow.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 7th (1:39.654)
“With it being the first European race, with lots of spectators, it felt like race day; it was intense, and it was clear from the number of crashes that everybody was pushing hard. We made a little step this morning, and our bike was working okay on the cool track. Like yesterday, that changed with the heat this afternoon, and performance suffered. In the end though, it went better than qualifying at the first two races, where I had a problem with my rear wheel. We didn’t have any problems today, and I was able to enjoy it and get a better grid position. I was actually going a little quicker at one point, but debris on the track from Rossi’s crash ruined the lap, which happens sometimes. I know tomorrow won’t be an easy race, especially with my condition, but it’ll be nice to start a bit closer to the front.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:39.848)
“I’m pleased with the work we did today because we improved the setup from yesterday and the feeling from the last two races returned. When the temperature is cool, like this morning, we’re able to push harder and do times that are a bit closer, but the gap grows when it gets hot. It was very difficult to do a good time this afternoon, and it was clear from the number of falls that everyone had problems with the front. The race will be much different from the practice sessions, because when the tyres wear, the times get much higher, so we’ll see who’s really prepared. It will certainly be a long, tough race.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 14th (1:40.182)
“I’m a bit disappointed with myself because I made some mistakes. I did a 1:40.2 by myself right away in my first exit, but when I put on a new tyre, I wasn’t able to improve that little bit that I needed to get into Q2. I’m pleased because my level is pretty good at this point, though I’m sorry because I know I could’ve done better; the potential was around that of the other Ducati riders. Anyway, the team did a good job, so we hope to take another step tomorrow, collect as much information as possible, and get a good result.”