This weekend looks to be another tough one for Nicky Hayden, who seems to be struggling again with his Ducati Desmosedici GP9 in today’s Free Practice Session. The American currently sits 15th on the grid, the very last position held by a factory rider. Contrast that with the 5th place Colin Edwards is currently holding on his satellite Tech3 Yamaha, which runs on a budget almost 1/10th of Ducati’s.
Ducati Marlboro’s American rider was at a loss to explain events in the opening practice session for the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice, held at a track where he had expected to pick up his season’s results.
“This is a very different circuit to Le Mans and to be honest I was hoping that coming here, to the track where this bike was born, we would be on the pace. Unfortunately we’re not and the truth is we’re struggling again – it’s pretty demoralising because every track we go to at the moment seems to cause us different kinds of problems. Here the worst thing is the bumpiness of the surface, which is unsettling a bike that can already be quite unstable. It is hard to change direction when the bike isn’t planted and that’s a big thing here.”
While the Ducati has proven to be a handful for just about everyone except Casey Stoner, the repeat disaster that is underway with Hayden makes us only think perhaps his big crash at Qatar and second crash at Motegi, along with his recent racing slump, have gotten into the rider’s head and are affecting his performance.