Ducati improve understanding of wet pace

The Qatar Grand Prix was arguably the lowest point of Valentino Rossi’s career but a wet Friday at Jerez has left the nine times world champion in much better spirits.

“Today we are happy with the practice,” commented the Italian. “I am back to the top and finish in second position.”

Wet weather has proved to be Rossi’s only opportunity to shine over the course of his time with Ducati and it was imperative that the team continued to show strong pace in inclement conditions.

“It was important for us especially,” continued Rossi. “Last year I was always quite competitive in the wet conditions so we had to confirm with the new bike is the same and they are quite good like last year.

Over the winter the Bologna factory spent a lot of time analysing why their bike was much more competitive in the wet and Rossi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden, gave an illuminating response when asked as to why.

“We tried to understand why in real rain we had a bike that was fast,” said Hayden. “We used to think that with the carbon chassis that in the dry we were too stiff and our theory was that the stiffness actually helps to heat the tyre more because in the rain you don’t always want something real soft.

“Even with suspension you think we need to soften it up but when you do that the tyres don’t push into the ground and they don’t push through the puddles and you don’t generate the heat and work the tyres.”

With rain forecast for the weekend it is likely that Ducati will get the opportunity to put their theory to the test.

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