Ducati's Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden praying for more rain at Valencia
|By Matt Beer||Friday, November 4th 2011, 18:42 GMT|
Ducati's Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden are pinning their Valencia Grand Prix hopes on today's rain continuing after being frontrunners in both Friday practice sessions.
The troubled 2011 Ducati proved quick in the wet, allowing both men to appear on top of the timing screens for periods - ending up third and fourth in the morning, with Hayden second in the afternoon.
"This was actually the first time I've ever ridden the GP11.1 in the wet, and I was really happy with how it felt," said Hayden.
"The track was extremely slippery. We came from Malaysia and Australia, where the surface would dry in no time, but here, even when it would stop raining, it just wouldn't dry. The grip was really low, especially on corner entry, but we made a few steps through the day that seemed to help.
"I'm not going to lie; it would've been nice to end up in P1, even though it's just Friday afternoon, but we spent a lot of time at the top and put up quite a few red helmets [fastest sector times]. We'll see what the weather does tomorrow, but regardless, we got some good information."
Rossi was delighted with his bike's performance in the morning, but less comfortable in second practice, when he fell to seventh.
"Our bike works very well in the wet, so this morning I was able to push and to stay up there near the front," he said.
"In the afternoon we had a few more problems because we made a mistake with the rear setting. I couldn't manage to find grip under acceleration, or to ride the bike well like in the morning."
Despite his tricky afternoon, he felt Ducati's best chance in Spain was definitely if more rain fell.
"We'll have to see how to proceed throughout the weekend, because if it stays wet, we could do pretty well," Rossi said. "If it improves, we'll have to see how we are in the dry."
He also echoed the Honda riders' complaints about the condition of the track surface.
"I should add that we're a bit on the limit regarding the asphalt conditions, because it's very worn and has terrible grip," said Rossi. "The rain and the cold make it worse, and it's very difficult to ride."