Nicky Hayden posted the fourth-best lap time in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. The American made two clean attempts for fast laps near the end of the session, and in both cases he was well into the 1 minute, 48 second range, finishing just over one tenth of a second off the front row and less than four tenths from pole. Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, wasn’t able to take advantage of the soft tyre, and his time, which was good for tenth on the grid, came when he was on the hard tyre.
Nicky Hayden – 4th (1:47.671)
“That was exciting. I don’t think anyone left anything on the table today, which is the way that qualifying should be. My goal was to be in the 47s and in the top five, and we accomplished that, which is good. On the other hand, to be so close to the front row here at Mugello makes me wish for just that little bit more. Still, fourth on the grid isn’t a bad starting spot here at Mugello. We picked up a couple of things today, and we’ve steadily made the bike a bit better. Compared to yesterday, I was quite a bit quicker with the hard tyre this afternoon. It’s going to be an extremely hard race, because at these temperatures, tyre wear could be difficult. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow. Hopefully I can do a good result that this team, these fans and I can all be proud of. I’m expecting a wild one tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi – 10th (1:48.502)
“It didn’t go very well, which is a shame. The biggest problem was that I didn’t improve at all with the soft tyre, while the others lowered their times a lot. It’s too bad because we’re not so far off with the hard tyre. With the soft, I had a lot of chatter, to the point that I couldn’t take advantage of it. Anyway, the hard tyre is what will be used in the race, so we could go a little better. Of course I’ll have to start tenth, from the fourth row, so I’ll have to make some passes. We’re pretty fast in the first part of the track, but we lose a lot in T4. We’ll see what we can do.”