Hayden takes best result of season
The Ducati Marlboro Team had a mixed weekend at Assen, with some positive results balanced out by a few difficulties.
The steps forward in the bike's performance were a definite positive, and that allowed Casey Stoner to take yet
another podium finish despite suffering physically once more during the race.
Nicky Hayden also had a great day after a brilliant start, and after battling hard for sixth throughout the race, only finished in eighth due to a technical glitch.
"When you start from 13th you are always going to have a lot of work to do but that was the best bike I've had underneath me all season so I want to say a huge 'thank you' to the team for that, they have worked so hard. I got a great start and was able to lead the second group for a while until a couple of guys came past and I lost my rhythm a bit. I made a little mistake under braking on the back straight, ran wide and lost a lot of time but I fought back and got in with the group again”, he said. “I was having great fun but unfortunately the left handlebar came kind of loose about halfway through the race and cost me a lot of time - that's when a lot of the guys got past me. I know I'm coming out with a lot of excuses this year but a loose handlebar at that speed is pretty scary! The guys are looking at how it happened. Anyway, man it was a hard battle. I know we were only fighting for fifth or sixth but it felt like there was a title on the line out there! Big respect to everybody in the group though. Elias made a big mistake but everybody left it all out on the track today and we all shook hands afterwards. It was good to be a part of the battle."
Casey Stoner suffered throughout the weekend at Assen, with the physical condition which had already affected him in Catalunya worsening as the days went on. As difficult as a GP weekend is already, his physical condition just added to the obstacles to overcome as he was forced to race unwell. Despite that, he still managed to take home a podium finish, which was clearly a very positive result.
"I've been feeling fine all week but started to feel run down again on Friday and I've just got worse as the weekend has gone on.
I've taken every kind of supplement and vitamin tablet you can think of but nothing seems to have worked, so it is obviously something we need to have looked at closer because I can't keep going like this and it is costing us points”, he explained. “Thankfully I had a fantastic bike underneath me again today and I owe the team for that. A big thank also to Dott. Macchiagodena and our physiotherapist Freddie (Dente), who took good care of me both in Catalunya and here. Unfortunately we don't have much time to get fit for Laguna but we'll see what we can do."
“I'm sorry for Casey, it was clearly a difficult weekend for him because of his physical condition. Obviously everything we've done for him up to now hasn't worked so we need to help him as much as possible”, said Livio Suppo. “Besides that I'm really pleased with Nicky Hayden's performance who was a little unfortunate but has shown some really good progress, just like Mika Kallio who although he crashed had a great race nonetheless. Of course we need to give credit to Filippo (Preziosi) , Vitto (Guareschi) and all the guys at the factory for their hard work. Now we need to continue improving the bike and help Casey to overcome his physical problems, because that's his biggest issue at the moment."