Sepang test: Hard tyre headache for Nicky Hayden

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Nicky Hayden’s reckons his quest to adapt quickly to Ducati’s GP9 machine has not been helped by a lack of confidence in Bridgestone’s hard compound rear tyre.

The American has so far struggled to set a competitive time on the harder casing rubber, though he did break into the top ten on the second day in Sepang.

The former factory Honda rider clocked a best time of 2.03.034 early this morning in more favourable track conditions than the searing heat of this afternoon.

That was a second quicker than he managed on the opening day, but he was still 1.5s adrift of factory Ducati team-mate Casey Stoner. 

Hayden told MCN: “I felt like I made a bit of progress but I can’t get that hard tyre to work at all. I’m not comfortable and it makes the bike a lot looser with a lot more pumping on the exit of corners. It is certainly not as good for the lap time as the softer one.

“That is my main priority to get that sorted out. It pumps a lot though. It break away, tries to hook up and then transfers weight to the front and it is just really unpredictable which means you can’t get into a steady pace with it.”

Hayden also spent a short amount of time trying to follow 2007 world champion Stoner, but he said: “I tried to follow Casey but that didn’t last long at all. There were some places he was a lot faster and I’m not sure if it was his position or what but it seemed like he had a lot more speed on the straight. Sure he’s getting onto the straight faster but on the data he’s faster on both straights.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt