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Friday, March 02, 2012

Hayden: Different problems to Rossi


The second Sepang test proved a tough experience for the factory Ducati team, which wasn't able to build on an optimistic debut with the new GP12 a few weeks before.

Valentino Rossi certainly hoped for much better, but team-mate Nicky Hayden - who had struggled badly with his healing shoulder at the first test - was firstly just pleased to ride.

The American underwent surgery following the earlier test, but was able to put in an impressive number of laps over the three days this week.

Hayden was also the fastest Ducati rider - sixth and then fifth - on the first two rain-interrupted days but, like Rossi, dropped down the order on the all-dry final day (when the four Hondas returned).

While Rossi struggled with corner entry understeer on his way to tenth, eleventh-fastest Hayden was held back by chatter and corner exit performance.

“The bike feels better on braking and into the corner, and I like the feedback it gives me. Also, the lap times don't seem as affected when the track gets hot and greasy,” Hayden said of the GP12's strong points. “[Now] we need to work on some chatter and on corner exits.

“We've got quite a few ideas. This is the first real test for me with this bike. Of course we want to solve the chatter, but we have a lot of room for improvement. There are a lot of areas that we didn't get to try this week, due to the weather.

“I started using the new electronics on the first day - I think Rossi started using them the second day - and I liked those. Then Rossi has found a little bit different geometry, which I haven't even got to. I'm still working my way through more basic changes.

“The bike has different problems to last year I would say.”

Hayden, 1.1sec from former team-mate Casey Stoner (Honda), suffered a small fall at turn one on Thursday, but fortunately didn't re-damage his shoulder.

“Toward the end, I lost the front end in Turn 1 and crashed, but it was an easy one and I'm fine,” he confirmed. “I'm happy with how my shoulder is coming along. I hope that with three more weeks of recovering and rehab, it should be close to 100 per cent for Jerez.”

The Jerez test, the last of the pre-season, will take place from March 23-25.

World Superbikes winner MSMW2012