Nicky Hayden is anticipating a tough British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend as he goes in search of his first top five finish of the season.
Ducati’s new factory GP12 is still not capable of mounting a serious podium challenge in dry conditions and American Hayden hasn’t finished higher than sixth in the opening five races.
Team-mate Valentino Rossi hasn’t finished higher than seventh in the dry in 2012 and Hayden is expecting the demands of the long and fast Silverstone layout to be another stern test for the Desmosedici machine.
Hayden has a good record at Silverstone and only missed out on a podium on the final lap in 2010. And in monsoon conditions last season he was also fourth, albeit after Marco Simoncelli, Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies had crashed out.
Looking ahead to this weekend, the 2006 world champion told MCN: “I really like that track but I’m sure it is going to be another tough weekend.
"It sounds like they repaved a couple of corners, which it needed and I’ve always liked racing in England because it feels a bit like home.
"I got a lot of support there so we need to see what happens. It is definitely a big, fast and open track so it is not an easy track.
"The last couple of tracks the Ducati hasn’t been that good for me but Silverstone is a track I like and in the past I’ve gone pretty good there, so we’ll see.”
It doesn’t seem to matter what Ducati tries to improve its performance, the gap to Honda and Yamaha remains around one second.
The GP12 is a radical revamp of the GP11 featuring a conventional aluminium frame but Hayden added: “At times it feels closer but the bottom line is when it really counts the gap is not much closer, so we’ve got to keep trying. But I can’t say we are getting the maximum out of what we have got.”