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May 15, 2009

Dovizioso Fastest In Rain-Affected First MotoGP Practice At Le Mans

FIM MotoGP World Championship
Le Mans, France
May 15, 2009
Free Practice One Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Honda), 1:36.136
2. Casey STONER (Ducati), 1:36.194
3. Randy DE PUNIET (Honda), 1:36.293
4. Chris VERMEULEN (Suzuki), 1:36.301
5. Dani PEDROSA (Honda), 1:36.476
6. Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha), 1:36.751
7. Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha), 1:37.024
8. Marco MELANDRI (Kawasaki), 1:37.024
9. Loris CAPIROSSI (Suzuki), 1:37.224
10. Colin EDWARDS (Yamaha), 1:37.269
11. Toni ELIAS (Honda), 1:37.270
12. James TOSELAND (Yamaha), 1:37.738
13. Mika KALLIO (Ducati), 1:37.800
14. Sete GIBERNAU (Ducati), 1:37.875
15. Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati), 1:38.032
16. Alex DE ANGELIS (Honda), 1:38.323
17. Yuki TAKAHASHI (Honda), 1:38.639
18. Niccolo CANEPA (Ducati), 1:39.116




250cc Practice Times:

1. Alvaro BAUTISTA (Aprilia), 1:39.302
2. Hiroshi AOYAMA (Honda), 1:39.415
3. Mike DI MEGLIO (Aprilia), 1:39.501
4. Hector BARBERA (Aprilia), 1:39.894
5. Marco SIMONCELLI (Gilera), 1:39.935
6. Thomas LUTHI (Aprilia), 1:40.046
7. Roberto LOCATELLI (Gilera), 1:40.268
8. Mattia PASINI (Aprilia), 1:40.315
9. Alex DEBON (Aprilia), 1:40.493
10. Lukas PESEK (Aprilia), 1:40.669




125cc Practice Times:

1. Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia), 1:45.258
2. Julian SIMON (Aprilia), 1:45.469
3. Sergio GADEA (Aprilia), 1:45.486
4. Joan OLIVE (Derbi), 1:46.061
5. Bradley SMITH (Aprilia), 1:46.087
6. Dominique AEGERTER (Derbi), 1:46.181
7. Marc MARQUEZ (KTM), 1:46.205
8. Efren VAZQUEZ (Derbi), 1:46.380
9. Esteve RABAT (Aprilia), 1:46.439
10. Simone CORSI (Aprilia), 1:46.626

18. Cameron BEAUBIER (KTM), 1:47.644




More, from a press release issued by Rizla Suzuki:

Chris Vermeulen began his Le Mans Grand Prix weekend on the front foot by steering his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to fourth place in the first practice session.

Vermeulen looked good from the start and topped the leader-board during the early part of the session. He looked increasingly likely to better his best time of 1'36,301 - that he recorded during his 16 laps - but the weather intervened and rain caused all the riders to return to the pits.

Loris Capirossi (1'37.224, 17 laps) was also making improvements and had just made several modifications to his bike - which he was sure would improve his ninth position - before he too was forced to head for shelter as the rain began to fall on 4'185m French circuit. Vermeulen and Capirossi both tried to get back into action later on in the hour-long session, but conditions were just not safe enough for the slick race tyres, so they had to abandon any chance of improving their times.

Heavy overnight rain and cold air temperatures of only 13ºC made conditions difficult for all involved, but a strong wind dried out the track in readiness for the start of this afternoon's session - which saw the riders return to a favoured hour-long session instead of the 45-minutes that had been introduced this season. Andrea Dovizioso on his Factory Honda posted today's quickest time.

Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session tomorrow morning, followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon to decide grid positions for Sunday's 28-lap race.

Chris Vermeulen:

"It has been a good start to the first day here at Le Mans. Conditions were difficult as it was very cold and damp - not like what I've been used to back in Australia recently! I really enjoy it here, I've had success before and I'd love to repeat that this year. For a first session we've done pretty well and the bike seemed to be good straight out of the box. We've tried a few new things from the Factory on the electronics side and these seem to be working well. We want to try to get the most out of the tyres in all conditions so we experimented a bit with chassis and suspension set-up, but unfortunately due to the weather we didn't get the full hour to try everything. We just hope that tomorrow is dry so we can continue where we left off today."

Loris Capirossi:

"It has not been too bad today considering the conditions, but luckily I did get the opportunity to test two completely different settings on the bike. The first one was not perfect but the second one was definitely a lot better. I came in to make a couple more modifications that I'm sure would have helped, but the rain came and we couldn't test everything that we wanted to. I now hope it either stays dry tomorrow and race-day or it rains on both, because a mix of the two will be no good at all. We will just have to wait and see what happens!"

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"The idea of reverting to an hour of practice didn't work out today as the weather managed to restrict us to even fewer laps than we could do in a decent 45-minute session! However, the laps that both guys did manage to complete were quite positive in terms of information and feeling on the bike. Chris's start point is a little bit stronger than Loris's, but there is a particular problem that the guys know how to fix for Loris tomorrow. All the riders seem quite close on lap-time potential so it will be important for us to maximise anything that will help Chris and Loris find those extra tenths-of-a-second."




More, from a press release issued by Fiat Yamaha:

RAIN INTERRUPTS FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE IN LE MANS

The weather in Le Mans was true to form today, with the first day of practice for the French Grand Prix interrupted by rain. Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who were part of an all-Yamaha podium at this race last year, completed the session in sixth and seventh places respectively.

From this race onwards all practice sessions will last for one hour, as in previous years, which will give the riders an extra 45 minutes of track time across the three sessions. With about fifteen minutes of today's hour lost to the rain however this made no difference and the Fiat Yamaha pair are hoping for a little French sunshine tomorrow so they can make more headway with their settings. Both riders had used the rain break to make some modifications and were hoping to get a few more dry laps in at the end, but it began to spit with rain again after a lap and that spelt the end of today's track time.

Fastest man on the track this afternoon was Andrea Dovizioso with Rossi 0.615 seconds off him with a time of 1'36.751, set just before the rain came, and Lorenzo a further 0.273 seconds adrift of his team-mate.


Valentino Rossi
Position: 6th Time: 1'36.751 Laps: 18

"We always seem to have bad luck with the weather here! The conditions weren't easy today, it was quite cold and the track wasn't so good, and then it rained and so we couldn't use all of the session. It was still useful to get some laps done in the dry though, even if we couldn't learn as much as we would have liked to today. Every lap has it's own small problems and during the first rain break we made some modifications to our setting and actually I was quite confident that we were on the right track. We hoped to get a few more laps before the end of the session once the rain stopped but unfortunately it started again and so we had no real chance to check our work. We know we're fast in the rain but I prefer it dry"¦the problem is that you never know with Le Mans, the weather seems to change every five minutes!"


Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 7th Time: 1'37.024 Laps: 19

"It's a pity about the rain because we needed the time today, but this is the situation so we have to deal with it. I just hope it doesn't continue. At least we had some dry track time but the situation of the track wasn't so good and I was quite slow. We need time at each circuit to learn how our bike works with the Bridgestone tyres and we didn't really have enough time today, but we will keep trying tomorrow and hopefully we can improve our pace."


Davide Brivio
Team Manager

"Luckily we had 30 minutes before it rained, because we know that this is going to be a difficult weekend where the weather is concerned. It looks like it's going to be unsettled for the next two days so we have to take what we learnt today and use it to the best of our advantage. We still need to do some work because we didn't really get the chance to check the work we did today, so we're looking forward to more time on-track tomorrow."


Daniele Romagnoli
Team Manager

"This difficult weather doesn't help our job plan! We were able to do half the session in the dry, which was useful, although it was very cold. It was interesting to see our pace and understand our potential, but we definitely have some work to do tomorrow. Let's hope for a dry day."




More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Bridgestone debut tyre markings for softer compound; Dovizioso fastest

Round 4: France Free Practice
Le Mans Circuit
Friday 15 May 2009
Tyre compounds used: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium

The first free practice session of the French Grand Prix was run in mixed conditions, ensuring that Bridgestone's soft and medium compound slick tyres were put to the test around the Le Mans circuit. Most of free practice was run in the dry although the session, which has from this grand prix onwards reverted to a one hour format, did not escape the unpredictable French weather as light rain interrupted 25 minutes from the end.

Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso was fastest, followed by Ducati Team's Casey Stoner, Frenchman Randy de Puniet of LCR Honda and Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen. The top four riders, representing four different teams, were split by fewer than 0.2 seconds.

Bridgestone officially introduced sidewall markings to the softer compound slicks during the session, after testing during Friday and Saturday of the Spanish Grand Prix to find the most effective solution. From this grand prix onwards, the softer slick Bridgestone offering will be marked by Bridgestone with a white stripe around the sidewall. The marked sidewalls made it far easier for those watching to keep track of the compound combinations that riders used during the session.

Most riders opted for soft compound front and rear Bridgestones, although some chose the medium compound rear to try and find the best package in the cold conditions which are expected to remain for the rest of the weekend.

Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport Manager Motorcycle Sport Unit
"We trialled tyre markings in Jerez with some different methods of tyre marking and after that weekend we decided to apply a white painted stripe to the tyre sidewalls. This will allow spectators, photographers, TV crews and anyone watching MotoGP to distinguish between the harder and softer compound Bridgestone slick options.

"We have experience of doing this in Formula One, where Bridgestone is also the Official Tyre Supplier, and the feedback we have from that series has been very positive. Now four races into our first season as MotoGP's Official Tyre Supplier, we have implemented a system that lets us transfer this experience to our MotoGP tyres, and I hope it will be just as well received in this paddock."

Top ten from free practice (Friday 13:55 14:55 GMT+2)
Pos Rider Team Practice Time Gap

1 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda 1m36.136s
2 Casey Stoner Ducati Team 1m36.194s +0.058s
3 Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m36.293s +0.157s
4 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki 1m36.301s +0.165s
5 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1m36.476s +0.340s
6 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 1m36.751s +0.615s
7 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 1m37.024s +0.888s
8 Marco Melandri Hayate Racing 1m37.024s +0.888s
9 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki 1m37.224s +1.088s
10 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m37.268s +1.133s

Weather: Dry, damp, dry. Ambient 14°C; Track 20°C (Bridgestone measurement)




More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

DOVIZIOSO SETS THE PACE IN FIRST LE MANS PRACTICE

Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was fastest in today's opening practice for the Grand Prix of France at Le Mans in a session that was cut in half by a rain shower after 30 minutes. Both he and his team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, were quickly on the pace this afternoon as they began the process of setting up the factory RC212V ahead of Sunday's 28-lap race at the famous French venue.

Dovizioso lay in second place early in the session before going top at the half-way point, immediately before rain began to fall and the riders ducked into the pits. Though some riders returned to the damp track, they were unable to better Dovizioso's fastest lap. Both Repsol Honda riders chose not to ride many laps in the damp conditions, preferring to preserve their allocation of wet tyres.

Pedrosa lay in third for most of the dry half of the session, before slipping to fifth immediately before the rain began to fall. With a lap time just 0.340s behind that of his team-mate, Pedrosa should be in contention to repeat his 2008 pole position in tomorrow afternoon's qualifying session.

This is the first time that Dovizioso has finished on top of a MotoGP session for the Repsol Honda Team, and the second time since he joined the premier class in 2008 - the first being the wet Saturday morning practice session at Donington last year.


ANDREA DOVIZIOSO 1st 1m 36.136s
"I'm happy today because we have started in the right way here at Le Mans. I like this track and I was able to be fast right from the beginning of the session. Unfortunately it started raining in the middle of the practice and so we didn't do many laps - only 16 in total. This meant we couldn't test so many options on the machine but anyway, we were able to get some useful information and learn that we need to improve the set-up for corner entry. The lap times overall were not very fast today and I think they will come down by around two seconds - so today's lap time is not indicative for the weekend. Regarding the race, I've had many podium finishes here so my expectations are high, but it's too early to speculate about results. We just need to keep on working hard - and keep an eye on the weather."


DANI PEDROSA 5th 1m 36.476s
"We were lucky to get some dry track time today, even though there was rain towards the close of the session. It's a very different kind of circuit to the last race at Jerez - where I've testing a lot - and so really today was about getting dialed in to this track and beginning the set-up process. My physical condition is getting better all the time and I can bend my knee a lot more now - I've almost got full movement. Still, I haven't been able to train physically at 100 per cent though, so my condition isn't perfect yet, but it's getting better all the time. I didn't ride much in the second half of the session today because it wasn't fully wet and we have a limit on wet tyres, so I didn't want to waste any. Let's see what the weather brings tomorrow."


KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Today the result was good for the Repsol Honda Team so I'm pleased with how things went, especially for Andrea. Dani's pace was also good and we can build on this start, though we still have to make progress with our machine and I think these results today are primarily down to the performances from our riders. Tomorrow I think we should be able to make further improvements. The weather is looking unpredictable for the rest of the weekend so we'll be making plans for a wide range of conditions."




More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Rain dampens home start for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team

Mixed weather conditions disrupted early preparations for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's home race in Le Mans today, Colin Edwards and James Toseland ending a rain-hit opening practice session in 10th and 12th on the timesheets.

On a day of typically unpredictable Le Mans weather conditions, the session started on a dry track despite earlier rain showers and Edwards and Toseland quickly set about utilising an extra 15 minutes of set-up time available. Practice has reverted back to a one-hour format in Le Mans having been run over 45 minutes at the first three races.

American Edwards had just moved into the top ten with a best time of 1.37.269 when rain started to fall with 25 minutes remaining. Edwards and Toseland were forced into the pits for 15 minutes before conditions improved. But almost immediately after returning to the track, further light rain started to fall, bringing an end to any meaningful testing ahead of Sunday's 28-lap French MotoGP race.

Edwards, who was third in a clean sweep of the podium by Yamaha last season, is confident he can significantly improve the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine, having encountered some small issues this afternoon.

Toseland too is confident he can improve his best lap time of 1.37.738 after he evaluated a longer wheelbase setting on his YZR-M1 machine in the limited dry track time available.

This weekend's race marks a special anniversary for the Tech 3 Team, which celebrates its 20th season of Grand Prix world championship competition in 2009.

Colin Edwards 10th 1.37.269 18 laps
"It was a really weird day to be honest and I'm a bit confused. My record proves that I like this track and we know the Yamaha is a really strong package in Le Mans, but right from the start nothing really seemed to work. It's obvious we've got a couple of small issues to solve for tomorrow because Valentino (Rossi) and Jorge (Lorenzo) are not up near the top either. So out of the box nothing really seems to be working and that is very strange. From my side I just don't feel comfortable. Braking and corner entry I'm not that confident and I was running wide quite a lot. It felt like we had a lot of weight on the rear but I need to get my thinking head on tonight, sit down with my guys and figure something out. We'll check over some data with Yamaha too because right now I'm a little bit confused. But we've definitely got to do something to make it more comfortable. I know this is a massively important weekend for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It's an awesome achievement for them to be involved in the world championship for 20 years. I'll be trying my best to give them something to celebrate on Sunday."

James Toseland 12th 1.37.738 16 laps
"I think I'm going to stop saying I need more time on the track, because when I do something makes sure it doesn't happen. >From the off we're not too far away but we need time to try things on the bike. I'm sure the guys behind me are saying the same thing, but we still need to find a comfortable setting and it is a frustrating scenario when you only have one session on a Friday. We made the wheelbase longer to get a bit more stability from the bike and I did eight laps and we made some changes based on comments about the good and bad points. But then it started raining so I couldn't see if the changes were moving me in the right direction. I'm looking to be more comfortable and not feeling so on the limit not doing the quickest times. When the bike is not set-up right you always feel on the limit even though the lap times are not as fast as they should be. We'll find what I need but you need to be out on the track to find it. I really want to get a good result this weekend given that this is the home race for Tech 3, and the team is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It's incredible to think they have been racing in Grand Prix since I was eight years old! I'd love nothing more though than getting a good result for the team in France."




More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing Team:

First free MotoGP practice in Le Mans interrupted by rain. Kallio thirteenth, Canepa eighteenth

They said it would have rained and so it has been. After just over half an hour of practice in the MotoGP free practice, rain has forced MotoGP riders to enter the pit. This has interrupted the learning procedure of the track of Niccolò Canepa who rides here for the first time in his career. The Italian rider likes the historic circuit of Le Mans and hopes to find better climatic condition tomorrow. His teammate, Mika Kallio, has obtained the thirteenth best lap time this afternoon. Both Pramac Racing riders will try to sensibly improve their performances in tomorrow's official session that will start at 1.55pm local time.

Fabiano Sterlacchini - Pramac Racing Technical Director

"We aren't so lucky this season with the weather conditions. Our riders, as rookies in this category, need to ride for as many laps as possible to learn the bike reaction at each circuit. We will see what the weather will be like tomorrow even if we know that here in Le Mans is always unpredictable. Niccolò has done quite OK today as a first timer on this circuit, but of course he needs to improve a lot more. Mika was sensibly improving and right at that moment it started to rain. We hope to find the track either wet or dry tomorrow, we don't need the half way at this moment."

Mika Kallio - Pramac Racing rider - 13th position

"Here the weather conditions are always unpredictable, you can find over twenty degrees and sun, but after a few minutes it can start to rain ruining your work plan. It's a pity because we had found the right way to follow. We started with the same set up as in Jerez and after a few modifications we found a good balance of the bike. Nothing special for sure, but anyway a good start."

Niccolò Canepa - Pramac Racing rider - 18th position

"Really unlucky today. This has been the first time for me in Le Mans and I need to make as many laps as possible to learn the best lines to follow. Anyway I can be quite happy because I didn't make any modifications to the bike, but I have only concentrated to learn the track. We only hope to find better climatic conditions tomorrow."




More, from a press release issued by Playboy LCR Honda:

DE PUNIET THIRD FASTEST AT LE MANS OPENING DAY

Le Mans, 15 May: the MotoGP teams and riders gathered at the famous Le Mans circuit in the Sarthe region of France for the first day of practices at the 4.185 km track which hosts the fourth round of the season with a temperature of 13°C and typical downpours which affected the first free session.

After the brilliant 4th place at Jerez race track two weeks ago, the LCR Honda MotoGP racer Randy De Puniet went back on track today with a special livery of his Honda RC212V no. 14 decorated with the blue, white and red national flag. The 28-year-old came in to chase the correct package for the "stop-and-go" track getting the 3rd position with a 1'36.293 best lap time. But, at 20 minutes to go, Randy and his colleagues finished their daily work earlier because of a downpour saving their energies for tomorrows second session. Todays' frontrunner Dovizioso set a quickest lap time of 1'36.136.


De Puniet 3° - 1'36.293

De Puniet 3th: "This is Le Mans' typical weather so I am not surprised about that. It was a very short session but I feel confident as my first run out was pretty good. The machine was set up as we raced in Jerez with some little adjustments. Considering the weather rapid changes I stay outside as long as possible but, at 20 minutes to go, the rain became heavier and I stopped my daily to-do list. We will try some engine mapping in tomorrow's session and keep our fingers crossed for the weather conditions".




More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso was the fastest MotoGP rider on Friday at the Grand Prix de France as the rain returned at Le Mans and cut short the work that the teams could undertake on the first day.

The first run since the reversion to 60-minute practice sessions, the afternoon action was cut short when rain fell midway through the session, at which point Dovizioso had set the fastest lap with a best effort of 1'36.136.

The second quickest rider in the curtailed practice was Australian former World Champion Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) with a time of 1'36.194 on the eighth of just ten laps, whilst in-form home rider Randy de Puniet was just behind the front two.

The 2007 Le Mans race-winner Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) also featured in the top five, both within half a second of Italian youngster Dovizioso.

Fiat Yamaha colleagues Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were sixth and seventh fastest, respectively, at the track where they completed a memorable one-two last year.

Rossi's fellow Italians Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) also featured in a top ten rounded off by The Doctor's former team-mate Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).

After the rain arrived a number of riders went back out on track towards the end of the session on slick tyres, but they were unable to improve their times. Despite the precipitation there were no crashes to report and the MotoGP stars will be back in action for another hour-long run on Saturday morning at 9.55am, before qualifying on Saturday afternoon at 1.55pm.


250cc

Mapfre Aspar rider Álvaro Bautista's best time of 1'39.302 on the penultimate of his 25 laps was enough to make him the number one 250cc attendee.

Following the rain that had disrupted the MotoGP session shortly beforehand, the track soon dried out, Bautista starting the weekend in the best possible way by lapping 0.113s ahead of championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Racing).

Meanwhile, the Spaniard's Aspar colleague Mike di Meglio looked comfortable again in third place, trailing his team-mate by less than two tenths of a second.

Héctor Barberá (Pepe World Team Aprilia) and Metis Gilera's World Champion Marco Simoncelli finished fourth and fifth fastest, both suffering crashes in the session.

A split between the Balatonring Team and Gabor Talmacsi was confirmed earlier in the day, with Angel Rodriguez replacing the Hungarian for the immediate future.


125cc

In the 125cc outing, series leader Andrea Iannone (Ongetta Team I.S.P.A) topped the timesheet, as he successfully began his quest to bounce back from his Jerez crash.

The Italian set the pace with a best effort of 1'45.258 at the famous French venue, laying down his best time on the last of his 22 laps, to put him 0.211s ahead of second quickest participant Julián Simón (Bancaja Aspar).

With Simón's team-mates Sergio Gadea and Bradley Smith lapping third and fifth fastest, sandwiching Joan Olivé (Derbi Racing Team) on the timesheet, the Bancaja Aspar team was represented heavily in the top five.




More, from a press release issued by Marlboro Ducati:

STONER AND HAYDEN PROGRESS HIT BY RAIN AT LE MANS

The fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship was predictably hit by rain today, as the typically changeable conditions of northern France brought an early interruption to the first free practice at Le Mans. With each session returning to an hour in length this weekend, today provided the riders with the ideal opportunity to work on bike set-up without the added pressure of restricted time constraints. However, a light shower around fifteen minutes from the end of the session halted the progress of Ducati Marlboro pair Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden, who were making gradual and methodical improvements to the settings of their Desmosedici GP9 machines.

Stoner only completed a handful of laps on a comfortable set-up but the Australian was in impressive form, clocking the second fastest time behind today's pacesetter Andrea Dovizioso. Hayden, working for the first time with new Crew Chief Juan Martinez, was the only rider starting the session with a harder rear tyre and had just switched to a softer compound when the heavens opened. The American ended the session 15th fastest and is desperate for the opportunity of a full day's work tomorrow.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd (1'36.194)
"In the first part of the session it felt like we maybe had a problem with the rear tyre because the bike was pretty difficult to ride but we haven't analyzed the data yet so we don't know what really happened. We were in and out of the garage a few times before deciding on a complete change, swapping onto my other bike with a completely new tyre. I immediately had a better feeling but we still weren't getting enough temperature into the tyre, which we think was because the rear setting was too stiff and we weren't getting enough weight transfer to load the rear and make the tyre work. We changed the set-up but we only had time to do half a lap and then the rain came, which was effectively 'game over'. It wasn't much of a session for us because we only completed three proper laps so it would be useful if we could have a dry weekend to have more time to work on the setting. Unfortunately with the way the weather forecast is, I don't think we're going to get that!"

NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team) 15th (1'38.032)
"We thought we were going to have an hour today but it seems like the weather decided we should stick to 45 minutes! It was a shame about the rain because we obviously have a lot of work to do and we're in a new situation, where me and Juan need to learn about each other, but we only got two runs in the dry. I constantly got a little faster, a little faster, and then I was really just getting going on my second run when it started to rain. For a while it looked like it couldn't decide whether it wanted to rain or whether the sun was coming back out but unfortunately the conditions were never back to what we needed. I was planning to go out on the softer tyre and see how that felt but we didn't get that chance. It's early days to comment on the relationship with Juan but he clearly knows his stuff and we'll see how we go."