Nicky Hayden ‘not thrilled’ by tenth

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American Nicky Hayden conceded he had little to be thrilled about as he finished the opening day of testing in Jerez with the tenth quickest time.

Making his second appearance on the new carbon fibre chassis Ducati GP9, the 27-year-old clocked a best time of 1.42.098 to finish 2.573s adrift of former Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Rookie Niccolo Canepa was 0.024s faster than the 2006 world champion as he clocked 69 laps with injured team-mate Casey Stoner evaluating his performance from trackside.

“I know I’ve got a lot of work to do and obviously I need to go a lot faster, “Hayden told MCN in the back of the Ducati truck tonight. “I feel fast but I’m definitely not thrilled by the times.

“The lap times were quite slow to be honest and I’m not happy to be so far off the pace and be where I am but I never expected it to click and just happen overnight. It is early days yet and I’m not too worried. Hopefully it will come.”

Hayden was at least delighted with the performance of the new Jerez track surface, which was laid in August.

“The track is unbelievable at the moment. It is really smooth and that has helped make the bike not feel anywhere near as loose as it did in Valencia. The track was in great shape once we cleaned the line and it warmed up.

“Some of these tracks when they have been resurfaced, by the time we get there you can see patches and sealer but it is really smooth. They have taken out some of the big bumps too which shows they have done a great job, because sometimes it is hard to completely take out the big, big bumps.”

Hayden said he planned to sit down and talk about his progress with Aussie team-mate Stoner tonight. Stoner is in the early stages of a three-month recovery from a major right wrist operation, but he was in Jerez.

Hayden added: “I’ll sit down with Casey and have a chat and ask him what he’s seeing out there. That kind of stuff always helps. But to actually compare his data is difficult because of the new surface.”

Do you think Hayden will master the Ducati in 2009? Post a comment below.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt