Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner spoke to the press after the race at Donington, explaining their decision to use wet tires for the race. Below is a transcript of what they told the press:
Nicky Hayden: I hadn't won a race in three years, I thought, you know what, I've got nothing to lose, why not roll the dice. I knew the chances were probably a little bit against me, but this track can get slick quick. And I mean, it was spitting rain. On the first lap, second lap, all I needed is what we have now [it's raining more heavily by now, Ed.]. It was a gamble that I took, we took, it was my choice, though. I'll take the responsibility.
Livio Suppo: As I said before, there's no blaming. We share the good, we share the bad, right. Sometimes we do mistakes, sometimes the rider makes mistakes, but I underline, if there's a safety issue, I will never oblige a rider [to make a decision].
Q: When did you realize it wasn't go to go your way?
Nicky Hayden: Well, the first couple of laps, I mean, it was... One thing I knew here you weren't going to lose a whole lot of time if you did have to pit for a new bike, because the last corner, the way it was, I thought that especially in the beginning, get some rain, get out for a gap and then maybe pit for my slick bike. but the first couple of laps, I mean it was misting rain, but I was cruising round because I didn't want to destroy the tires. And so at first, it was just keep them in sight, keep them in sight. All you needed was for the clouds to break basically. I mean, I couldn't see riding my scooter back to the motorhome it was raining so hard. About three or four laps, I realized it was … pffft... pretty much over. But anyway I stayed out. By then I'd caught up to Casey, went back and forth with him a few times while we were together. But the last five laps, the tire, there was just no tread, the sides were OK but the center had just gone.
Q: Did you think about coming in to change to a bike with slicks?
Nicky Hayden: It was raining, you know? So why come in at that stage and change to a slick bike.
Q: It was a rider decision, but you thought it was worth the gamble?
Casey Stoner: Basically, everyone knows my situation in the dry races at the moment, and the bike's been working well, but in an outright dry race I get tired really quickly, and this weekend it's definitely been more aggressive with me at this circuit than the Sachsenring was. And the whole race, it was a fingernail away from being plenty of rain to wet the track enough for everyone to have to come in and we would look like heroes. But things didn't work out like that, it just kept threatening the whole time, until right at the end it put a little bit more rain down but it was too little too late. We knew we had much better pace in the wet. Physically, I'm able to go a lot further in the wet, so it was wishful thinking, but also a calculated risk. Unfortunately, it was just that far from being enough. But things happen like this, you know. All this time I've been with Ducati it's the only risk I've taken, it's the only time I've taken this sort of decision in my life. But it was something I felt was worth the risk, and obviously it didn't pay off.
Q: Nicky, have you ever made a decision like this?
Nicky Hayden: No, but this year I've been tempted, because like they say, at the back, sometimes you only get a chance like that to be a hero every now and then. But it's the first time.
Q: Casey, how long were you going and thinking it might still pay off? When did you realize, no it hasn't?
Casey Stoner: Lap 10, basically we knew the race was kind of over. Now we're just going round just trying to keep those sharp edges on the wets judging how long we can make them last and hoping it would pour down. After lap 10, when we knew the race was gone, but if it had rained reasonably soon after that, then we could at least get some good positions back, and see what we're capable of.
Q: Nicky said that ideally, it would have rained a little in the first few laps, then you could have got a lead and come in and changed bikes to slicks.
Casey Stoner: You know honestly, on the warm up lap, there was no way we were going to be on the race with slicks. It was touch the throttle and you'd be out of the seat. You know, there was a few riders on the first lap coming up out of the seat, all kinds of stuff. I was kind of rubbing my hands together, thinking "this is it, there's gonna be enough rain, it's gonna come," just a little bit more was all we needed just to put enough down so that the slicks just wouldn't work, but it just never happened, you know? The track temperature at Donington was strangely warm for this kind of conditions and as Nicky said before, as soon as the water was hitting the ground it was just evaporating too quickly and not really putting it down for the wet tires to start working. For me it was worth the gamble, but it just didn't pay off.
We knew everybody else was on slicks, but we thought it was worth a try. As I said before, I was just physically not ready for it in the dry, and in the wet, the bike was working well.