Moto GP

Rossi to test injury progress at opening day at Phillip Island

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Ducati's Valentino Rossi will test out the condition of his injured hand when practice gets underway for the Australian GP at Phillip Island, Vic, this weekend.

Tthe Italian will be testing the readiness of the hand that he injured in the crash in Japan, and he'll also try continue the good progress he made there with the GP11.1's setup.

"At Motegi, despite the outcome of the race and what the consequences of the crash turned out to be, there were a number of positive aspects," Rossi said,

"We worked well on the bike's balance and setup, and in the end, from that point of view, we had one of the most positive weekends of the season. Phillip Island is another track where the Ducati has always gone well, as have I, so we hope to be able to work as well as we did in Japan.

"As far as my hand is concerned, the swelling is reduced, and we still have a couple of days before we go on the track. We just have to wait for Friday morning to see how it reacts," he concluded.

Nicky Hayden is also a great admirer of the Down Under circuit, where he owns the lap record (2008), and where he will be celebrating his 150th Grand Prix this weekend. He has climbed the podium three times at Phillip Island, and he finished fourth last year with the Ducati.

"Phillip Island is definitely one of the highlights of the year, because everything about it is special," Hayden said,

"It's fast, flowing and really fun to ride. The big question mark is always the weather. We can get rain, wind, cold and sun, all in the course of one race weekend. Casey has won a lot of races there for Ducati, and I should have been on the podium there last year, except that I left the door open for Vale to beat me. It's a good track for me, and although I know it won't be easy, I really hope we can do well. I've got Simoncelli coming for me in the points, but I'm not really thinking about that. I'd just like to try to get a good result on Sunday, when it counts."

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager for Ducati, added, "We'll have the unknown of Vale's hand injury, but he was able to rest and recuperate over the past few days, so we hope it won't give him any problems."

Apart from 2006, when their best result was fourth place, the Ducati Team has always finished on the podium at Phillip Island. As for Valentino Rossi, he has enjoyed no fewer than seven victories there in his career, plus another six podium finishes.

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