Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi both had costly off-track excursions in the early stages of the Aragon GP, with the former crashing upon striking a tyre wall and the latter having to fight through the pack after re-entering the circuit and completing the first lap in last place.
Fortunately, there were no serious consequences from the American’s frightening incident, which occurred after exiting the track at same point where he had crashed yesterday. This time, he stayed upright until striking the wall and flying over it. Hayden was initially transported to the circuit medical centre and then to the Hospital de Alcañiz for precautionary checks. He has been released and plans to compete in the next round, the Japanese Grand Prix.
As for Valentino Rossi, he went off the track on the first lap to avoid contact with Jonathan Rea, and after re-entering in last place, he had to work his way forward. The Italian had a good pace for the entire race, making up twelve positions to take the chequered flag in eighth place.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th
“It’s a shame about the mistake on the first lap. I was a bit faster than Rea, and when we spread out on the straightaway, and he braked a bit earlier, I went to the right. He couldn’t see me and pushed me close to the curb, and I went straight to avoid him. I should have gone to the inside, not the outside. Without that incident, I think I could have fought with Bautista for sixth place, which was our potential at this track today. In fact, things went better in the race than in practice, when we suffered a lot on acceleration both in the wet and in the dry. We made some changes after the warm-up, and that helped us to lap consistently at a decent pace for the whole race, without using up the tyres too much. This is a positive sign, considering that we were also able to do that at Misano. There’s still much work to do, but it’s also true that for us this was probably the most difficult track among those left on the calendar, so we hope to be more competitive at Motegi in two weeks.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) DNF
“I spun the tyre a lot on the start but was able to get past Rossi and Johnny Rea. The rear brake wasn’t working great from about halfway around the lap, maybe because I overheated it. I was trying to keep the group in front of me in sight, but I pushed the front in the last turn. I was able to pick it up, but I came up on that wall really fast. I thought I might hit it headfirst if I jumped off, so I let go right before impact. I’m sorry to tear up the bike, but I’m thankful for great safety equipment and to be okay.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“We had a very challenging weekend here at Aragon because we started the race having had very little time to work on our setup. With the new frame and swingarm, it’s a period when we needed to ride as much as possible, but the only dry session was qualifying, where it was more important to do a good time than to try different settings. We had the warm-up this morning, and I must say that the team did a good job of finding solutions that allowed Vale to ride until the end at a good pace, without wearing the tyres too much. Obviously, we could have done with the two off-track excursions, but fortunately for Nicky the worse outcome was a bad scare for us all. I think that today, apart from the results, there were some positive signs, which show that we’re working in the right direction.”