All Ducatis fall in Friday practice
12 July 2013
Ducati's German MotoGP weekend got off to an eventful start with all four riders crashing during Friday practice at the Sachsenring.
First to go was factory star Andrea Dovizioso, who destroyed his only new chassis after losing the front through the fast downhill right-hand waterfall turn, in the opening ten minutes (pictured) of FP1.
The Italian was unhurt but has had to switch back to the standard chassis for the rest of the weekend.
“We'd have liked to do some tests with the new frame, but unfortunately, it was bent in my crash - and there were many of those here today,” said Dovizioso. “That means we can't use it, and instead we have to run the one we've used all season.”
Next to fall, at the very same corner, was Pramac rookie Andrea Iannone, who ripped the rear wheel off the 'lab' Ducati - featuring an updated chassis but of an older spec to that briefly tried by Dovizioso - that he is using for the first time in a grand prix.
“This morning was quite difficult, as I fell when I didn't expect it,” he said. “It's not an easy circuit with the tyres, as there are many consecutive left-hand corners and then a very fast right, after the right side of the tyre has cooled.”
Dovizioso's team-mate Nicky Hayden, who does not have the new chassis, saved big 'tank slappers' in both the morning and afternoon sessions, but was later caught out by a lowside through the long turn three right hander.
“I've had a couple of big moments when the rear let go too aggressively. I also had a small crash in the slow turn 3, where the front folded with no warning,” he confirmed.
Test rider Michele Pirro, making his last scheduled appearance in place of the injured Ben Spies, then fell at the end of the afternoon.
“I started with used tyres, and, seven minutes before the end of the session we put in the new ones,” he explained. “I returned to the track but on my first lap I crashed at the second left-hand turn without being able to take advantage of the new rubber, and I'm really disappointed about that.”
Accidents aside, Hayden set the seventh fastest combined practice time (+0.542s), with Dovizioso in ninth (+0.820s), Iannone eleventh (+0.978s) and Pirro 14th (1.461s).
“I've had a pretty good pace today, especially compared to Assen,” confirmed Hayden. “For my fast lap, a half-second from the front is a lot on this short track, but my ideal time is a couple of tenths better.”
The American added that the turn eleven Ducati incidents illustrated the ongoing front-end issues: “When it's difficult to put heat in the front tyre, turn 11 is tough for everybody, especially us.”
Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, linked to Ducati for 2014, also fell at that corner.
Ducati is now owned by German brand Audi.