Ducati Marlboro Team riders Nicky Hayden and Mika Kallio are confident of putting on a performance to delight the thousands of Ducatisti in the crowd at tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix after qualifying sixth and eleventh respectively in this afternoon’s qualifying session. Hayden was the second fastest rider on track in the first and final sections of the Misano circuit but, like yesterday, he struggled with the fast right-hander in T3. However, on his penultimate lap the American shaved two tenths off his previous best through that sector alone to improve his overall best time by three tenths and move up to the second row for the second successive race. Kallio also made progresses but not enough to improve his position on the time sheets and the Finn will start from row four.
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) (6th; 1’35.223)
“This morning I had a really good feeling with the bike and put together a good rhythm – I was fastest in T4 and that’s the first time this year I’ve been fastest at anything in the dry! I’d hoped to improve and do my best dry qualifying of the year this afternoon but to begin with the track was a little warmer and I didn’t get that same level of feeling, so we had to make some tweaks to the set-up. Like I say, I’d hoped to do better than what I did but we got on the second row and our focus turns to tomorrow. I need to get a great start because those first two or three turns are going to be harsh – everybody will be fighting for positions and there’s a good chance of some drama there! We want to get through that cleanly and as high up the order as possible in the early stages. From there it’s a case of giving my maximum for all the Italian fans and trying to put their bike up front. It is great to have their support here and all the staff from Bologna – Claudio (Domenicali), Filippo (Preziosi), Vitto (Guareschi), Alan (Jenkins)… It’s fun and I’m enjoying having them around so hopefully we can celebrate a result together tomorrow.”
MIKA KALLIO (Ducati Marlboro Team) (11th; 1’35.601)
“We have improved by eight tenths of a second on yesterday, which isn’t bad but clearly isn’t enough because the other guys have improved more. We’ve tried many things this weekend to try and get a better feeling with the front but we’re still not getting the feedback we would like and we’re struggling to work out why that is. Now we need to think carefully about what we try in the morning because confidence is a big issue and if we go completely in the wrong direction it can be damaging. We’ll make some small modifications that I hope can be enough to help me push more and get more out of the bike in the race.”