News 27 Jul 2009

MotoGP: Tyre gamble doesn't pay off for Ducati at Donington

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden paid the price for a bold gamble that backfired in the British Grand Prix, opting to run wet tyres with the rest of the field on slicks as drizzle fell on the starting grid at Donington Park. The Australian and the American were concerned about the state of the track after the sighting lap and, in the hope that the light rainfall would become heavier as the race progressed, they choose to make the switch from slicks to full wets. However, even though a handful of riders did make the change late in the race, the downpour never came and the pair could only struggled to fourteenth and fifteenth place respectively.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) (14th)
“Everybody knows I’ve been struggling for the last few races in the dry so I was praying for the rain to come today. Every single lap we were out there it threatened to pour down and we were very close to having the perfect situation. Unfortunately, even though it got heavier, it didn’t come soon enough and our tyres were destroyed so it ended up being the wrong decision. For us, in our current situation, I still think it was a risk worth taking because it could have worked out fantastically but obviously we’re disappointed it didn’t. I’m sorry for the team because they’ve done a great job to give me a bike capable of winning races at every circuit we’ve been to lately, even though for one reason or another I haven’t been able to get the best out of it. I’m looking forward to a break now and hopefully we come back a little bit stronger at Brno.”

NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) (15th)
“We took a big gamble, it backfired and it’s frustrating because we made a big change to the bike for warm-up this morning and I had a great feeling with it in the wet. The track was damp for the sighting lap and it was spitting with rain on the grid and since my pace on slicks hasn’t been great all weekend we took a big gamble. I had nothing to lose so we rolled the dice. The odds were against me but it was so close to paying off. It rained throughout the race but the track was so warm the moisture wasn’t accumulating on the ground and unfortunately that spelt disaster for us. I take full responsibility for the decision. We agreed on it together with the team but it was my shout, I thought ‘let’s try and be a hero here!’ The tyre was pretty much destroyed after seven or eight laps but there was no point coming in to pit and it came apart five laps from the end. To be honest it’s amazing how it held together for that long! I don’t want to say it was a mistake; it was just a gamble that didn’t pay off and we’ll learn from it.”

LIVIO SUPPO – MotoGP Project Director
“We took a big gamble today and it didn’t work. We actually informed both riders that all the other guys were on slicks and that we thought it was the right choice but they were both adamant it was too dangerous and at the end of the day we have to trust their instinct in a tricky situation like that. If it had rained heavier we might be celebrating an amazing success now but we’re not and we have to accept it. Anyway, let’s think positive: the potential is there, the bike is working well and we know our riders have the capability to score top results when we come back.”