Nicky Hayden’s wrist injury and a corner entry issue with his factory Ducati GP12 machine contributed to the American enduring a tough start to the Japanese MotoGP weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi.
With the broken radius bone in his right wrist suffered in a horror crash at the Motorland Aragon circuit last month causing him considerable discomfort, the 2006 world champion struggled in the hard braking zones at the Honda-owned track.
Hayden shrugged off the pain to finish seventh fastest in this morning’s opening session and his best time of 1.47.551 was just over 0.2s away from the top five.
But as the pace got faster in the second 45-minute session, Hayden was the only rider not to improve his lap time this afternoon and he dropped back to finish 10th on the combined leaderboard.
The Kentucky rider told MCN: “This morning was not too bad but this afternoon I struggled, especially as the pace got faster and I didn't go any faster than this morning.
"The faster you go I was suffering in some of the braking areas, especially in the downhill corners into the right-handers. My wrist is not great but I was 1.5s off, so I can't put it all down to that.
"This track is not a good track for wrists. There is a lot of braking here and we are having problems with the brakes overheating. It is the hardest braking track we've been to this year with the 1000s.
"The brakes aren't overheating ungodly but especially at Turn 11 the downhill corner. It is sixth gear, so I’m feeling the brakes fade a little bit there. But I had other problems and that is not the only reason I am down in 10th.
"It was not a very productive day but on the other hand it was nice to have full day in the dry. It was really the first time since Indy, so hopefully I can build on that. But certainly I’m going to have to do better."
Hayden was struggling technically and not just physically and he said that he was having a problem on corner entry.
He added: “'Mainly on corner entry. I can’t get the bike to stop and I don't have very good feeling from the front. I run wide on entry and therefore on the exit I’m not so fast. This afternoon we tried something else but I didn't