A torrid weekend for Ducati in the Malaysian heat,
Early race mistake leaves Andrea Dovizioso finishing well down the order
“It was a very difficult race. I made a good start and tried to follow Smith but I made a mistake at turn 14 trying to pass him. You have to brake on angle and I lost the front. I tried to stay on the track but lost the rear so I had to pick up the bike but I was on the asphalt but it was very dirty and I almost crashed. It took me six corners to get the right side of the rear tyre clean afterwards.”
Like the rest of the field Dovizioso struggled with tyre wear problems and the significant drop off in grip of the rear tyre in the hot conditions. When a greasy track surface, due to the higher than expected track temperature, is taken into account it made for a very difficult race for Dovizioso.
After his near miss in the early stages Dovizioso settled into position behind fellow Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Iannone, both of whom retired.
“I had quite a big drop so I don’t know if they [Hayden and Iannone] had continued the race what sort of pace they could have kept. In these conditions it is difficult for us so the gap [to the front] was bigger. On this track nobody had grip so you need to use the bike differently. You need to make the speed in the middle of the corner and pick up the bike and make acceleration. With our bike we have to open the throttle on angle because the bike doesn’t turn in so we’re waiting and waiting and opening the throttle [gently].”
So what did happen to Nicky Hayden?
An engine failure during Sunday’s Malaysian MotoGP has left Nicky Hayden in a perilous position for the remainder of the 2013 season.
The American, who had switched to his freshest engine for today’s race, retired on lap eight with his Ducati smoking on the front straight.
When asked about the status of his engines for the rest of the year, Hayden said that the team needed to analyse the mileage but admitted that they couldn’t rule out starting from the pit lane at one of the remaining races.
“It was my freshest engine and it’s unfortunate. We just can’t catch a break at the moment. At Philip Island we’ll have to put in an older engine but it was already high mileage so it’s not good. Starting from pit lane [the punishment for opening a sixth engine this season] is a possibility but we’ll obviously look at what we have available.
“I’ve used all my engines so we’ll go back and see the mileage on them. I was hoping to get to the end of the season on these two engines. I know I’ve got one engine with some life but I don’t know if it’s enough to do three more races. I’d hate for it to be Philip Island to start from pit lane because it’s one of my favourite tracks.”
Hayden had made a strong start and was pleased with his early race progress having started the race from eleventh on the grid.
“It wasn’t a good day for us and it’s a real shame because this weekend we have gone better.”I messed up qualifying by riding too conservatively in the wet parts but I was fast in FP4 and was sixth in the warm-up and the closest I’ve been to the front in recent races. The race wasn’t going spectacular but it was better than the last ones and we were pulling away from Dovi and closing up on Smith when I had an engine failure.”
Hayden was given warning about his impending failure but having just come up close behind Bradley Smith he had some hope that the issue was with the Tech 3 Yamaha rider rather than his own machine:
“It was making some bad noises and I had just caught Smith at the last corner and I heard a noise. It was the closest I’d been to him in the whole race so I hoped that maybe it was his bike but when I opened the bike on the exit it was clear that it was smoking and the engine was done. We’ve looked at the engine but don’t have the tools to examine it fully so we’ll send it back to Bologna and see what happened.”