Ducati Marlboro riders Casey Stoner
and Nicky Hayden
were the only riders to gamble on wet tyres at the start of the British Grand Prix, a decision that badly backfired.
Rain began falling as the 17-strong premier class field assembled on the grid, but all other riders chose to start on slicks.
The Ducati gamble needed heavy rain to work, but instead the intermittent trickle of moisture saw them at the back of the field within four laps - and lapped before the halfway point of the 30 laps.
The weather did slowly worsen, but Stoner and Hayden only began to circulate quicker than the slick riders on lap 24. By then it was too late to make a difference and they finished at the back of the field - still one lap down - in 14th (Stoner) and 15th (Hayden) places.
Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo revealed that the team thought slicks were the correct choice, but the final decision had been made by the riders.
“We took a big gamble today and it didn't work,” he confessed. “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.”
The result means that Stoner, who came into round ten 28 points from the world championship lead, remains in third place but is now 37 points adrift of Rossi and only gained two points on second place Lorenzo, who crashed out.
Nevertheless Stoner, who has been battling health problems for the last four rounds, felt the tyre choice was a risk worth taking.
"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,” he said.