Nicky Hayden is hoping a revised Ducati chassis will help establish him as a conistent top six challenger in MotoGP after a tough start to 2011.
The American has only scored two top six finishes in the opening six races - both in the rain at Jerez and Silverstone - but Ducati could roll out a new carbon fibre chassis in Assen this weekend for round seven of the 2011 MotoGP world championship.
The new frame is a further update of the frame Hayden and Valentino Rossi have used since the Le Mans round in France last month and is designed with more flex.
Hayden, who won the 2006 world championship, said: "I’ve always felt the bike is too stiff. I can remember being at my first ever test and that night telling Filippo (Preziosi) that the bike for me was too stiff. We’ve found a good direction and we can keep going further in the future."
Hayden said the challenge for Ducati engineers was to design a chassis that improved the bike at maximum lean angle but didn’t sacrifice braking stability, which is a strong point of the GP11.
He added: "The new chassis is more for full lean angle. Our bike is really good on braking, so we don’t want to lose that and some of that is because of the stiffness. On the edge is where we want to improve without giving up braking stability, which is the strength of our bike. The brakes with the new chassis we got for Le Mans, I lost nothing, It wasn’t one second faster but it gave me a better feeling and hopefully I can push a bit harder with a further update."