News 20 Jul 2011

Hayden and Rossi to ride both GP11 and GP11.1 at Laguna Seca

Valentino Rossi may return to Ducati's GP11 this weekend at Laguna Seca.

Valentino Rossi may return to Ducati's GP11 this weekend at Laguna Seca.

This weekend the MotoGP teams face the United States Grand Prix, which will be a very special event for Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden, being his first of two home-country races and a track where he has won twice.

Both Hayden and teammate Valentino Rossi are very popular with the American fans, and the riders themselves love both the relaxed atmosphere and the California track itself, which is famous for its signature Corkscrew section.

At Laguna, Valentino will also be reunited with his crew chief Jeremy Burgess, who has missed the last two races, and for Valentino Rossi, who has one win and three podiums.

From a technical point of view, the Ducati Team’s development work will continue at the American track and both riders will have both the GP11 and the GP11.1 at their disposition.

Rossi and Hayden, along with the Ducati technicians, are determined to do everything they can to speed up the development of the Desmosedici, and they are considering a possible back-to-back comparison of the bike’s two versions on the first day of free practice.

“Obviously, I’m looking forward to Laguna, because it’s a track I love that’s very challenging and fun, with a great atmosphere and my home crowd,” Hayden commented. “Turn one and the Corkscrew are very technical, and pretty much the whole track links together.

“On a MotoGP bike, there really aren’t any straightaways, because you’re always shifting, turning or braking. It’s important to have a bike that you feel confident on and can be aggressive with.

“I’m going to my home GP not in our best moment, but we’ll give our best effort like always. It’s nice that my brothers are both in the AMA race, and my sisters are both doing a lap on the two-seater Ducati.

“I think we’ll make the final decision on Thursday as to which bike I’ll ride, but we’ll probably try the GP11.1 at some stage, and I’ll see what I can do to try and come up with a good result.”

Rossi too is poised to ride both bikes, potentially switching back to the GP11 after a number of tough races on the GP11.1.

“I think that we’ll try to use both versions of the Desmosedici on Friday so that we can compare them and do some work for both the near term and the future, because we want to learn as much as possible,” Rossi said.

“We’re aware that it could be difficult because we’ll also have to be preparing for the race, but we think that in order to improve our bike, it’s important to try everything possible.

“For me, Laguna represents a great corner, the Corkscrew, and many nice memories, including one of the best races of my career, in 2008. In any case, it’s always a pleasure to race in the United States because the motorcycle world here is really nice.

“Of course I’m even happier that Jerry has returned and I look forward to seeing him in the garage again with all the guys.”