Ducati Marlboro PR:
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden worked hard in the searing afternoon heat of Mugello today, each working diligently towards different targets in the first free practice for the Italian Grand Prix. For Stoner the session provided a valuable opportunity to run back to back tests between the carbon swingarm that he has used since the start of this season with the aluminium version, whilst for Hayden the challenge lay in finding a base set-up for his Desmosedici GP9 at the fast and bumpy Tuscan circuit.
Stoner’s pace on both the carbon and aluminium swingarm was similarly good and the Australian set the pace for much of the session before giving best to Jorge Lorenzo in the final stages. Hayden’s day was not as productive, however, the American still struggling to get comfortable in his first season with the Italian machine and able to clock only the 15th fastest time.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 3rd (1’50.144)
“The idea behind going back to the aluminium swingarm is just in order to see where we can improve more with the carbon version. The carbon swingarm is better in a lot of ways but there is one area we’re struggling to find grip with in the turns. So we’re using the aluminium one to find out where it is better and why, and then hopefully transfer that across. I don’t mind riding with one of each because we can do similar lap times so it’s not a problem. The only way it affected us today was that we had to make a lot of short runs and do a lot of testing but we’re happy with the way things went. Today was a case of spending a time learning more about our bike rather than setting it up to race, which we’ll focus on tomorrow. Considering how close we are to the top, I think we can be quite confident.”
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 15th (1’52.403)
“This is a very different circuit to Le Mans and to be honest I was hoping that coming here, to the track where this bike was born, we would be on the pace. Unfortunately we’re not and the truth is we’re struggling again – it’s pretty demoralising because every track we go to at the moment seems to cause us different kinds of problems. Here the worst thing is the bumpiness of the surface, which is unsettling a bike that can already be quite unstable. It is hard to change direction when the bike isn’t planted and that’s a big thing here.”