29 September 2012
Ducati team-mates tumble in qualifying
“I was headed right for the wall. I just touched the brakes, and with slicks on wet grass, that was it” – Nicky Hayden.
Factory Ducati team-mates Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will start eighth and ninth on the grid in Sunday's Aragon MotoGP, after both fell during Saturday's qualifying session.
Rossi was the first to tumble, the front of his Desmosedici folding away on entry to turn two, just before the midway point of the hour.
The seven time MotoGP champion returned to set a lap time 1.545s behind pole sitter and 2013 Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, by the end of the first dry track session of the weekend.
Rossi, hoping to gauge the true level of progress made by the latest Ducati chassis and swingarm following an impressive second place at Misano, said: “This is a pretty difficult track. You spin a lot, basically the opposite of Misano.
“Today went pretty well considering that the others tested here recently and that qualifying was basically the first normal session all weekend. Being on the third row isn't great, but it's not too bad either.
“Unfortunately, I fell about midway through the session, and that cost us some time.
“Tomorrow we'll have to decide between a couple of setting options. Let's hope that the warm-up session will be dry so that we'll have the opportunity to improve the set-up a little bit. Then in the race we'll see what pace we're actually able to do.”
Hayden, riding with the latest chassis developments for the first time this weekend, suffered his accident in the very final minute of the session.
“It wasn't a great day. It was hard to check much in the wet this morning, and I wanted to save some rain tyres for the afternoon just in case, so we didn't do a lot of work,” began the American.
“In qualifying, at times we weren't too far off, and then when we put in my last tyre at the end, I lost the front in the middle of the last corner. I picked it up, but I was headed right for the wall. I just touched the brakes, and with slicks on wet grass, that was it.
“We certainly could have done without that, but luckily it wasn't a big one. This was the first time I was able to really ride the new chassis in the dry, but I need more setup time with it.
“We'll regroup and see what we come up with for tomorrow.”
Dani Pedrosa (Honda) and Yonny Hernandez (Avintia) also fell during qualifying.
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