Jerez test: Nicky Hayden quickest during rain-hit second day

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Nicky Hayden took advantage of the best conditions on a rain-hit second day of MotoGP testing at Jerez to set the fastest time on board the new factory Ducati GP12.

After heavy rain and gusting winds had dominated the majority of the day, the track had almost completely dried in the final 30 minutes when the American posted a best time of 1.40.755 to finish ahead of Karel Abraham and Ben Spies.

The 2006 world champion though admitted he would have liked to have been faster in the wet conditions having struggled to find a comfortable feeling with the new GP12 1000cc that he had with last year’s 800cc factory Desmosedici.

He told MCN: “It was the first time I’ve ridden this bike in the wet and the feeling didn’t come as quickly as I’d hoped. I can’t get the extra power to the ground both in acceleration and corner entry.

“I just didn’t have enough stability on the rear. I’m not going to lie but last year I prayed a lot for the rain a few times, especially in Valencia when it was really raining hard, I was probably the fastest guy.

“Today the lap time didn’t come like last year’s bike in the rain. It feels like we are better in the dry but not as good in the rain.”

Hayden though was relieved to try the new GP12 in the wet for the first time and he added: “Luckily I got a chance to ride in the rain because we didn’t go out in Malaysia with me not being completely fit.

“I’m no weather expert but with 18 races I’ve got a pretty good idea we will have to race or qualify in the rain. We had to change a few things and we’ve still got some work to do in the rain to get some more rear traction on corner entry and exit.

“But we did find some improvements and I went out at the end because the track dried up pretty decent and I did two exits to try and get some direction for tomorrow. I matched my lap time from yesterday so hopefully we have found something.”

Several riders didn’t bother to ride in the closing stages of the session when the track was dry apart from a few damp patches.

Dani Pedrosa was fastest in the wet conditions with a 1.49.822 but the Spaniard didn’t ride when the track improved. Jorge Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl, Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi also opted not to return to the track after testing in the rain.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Crutchlow was fifth fastest in the wet with a best time of 1.51.127 but he slipped to 14th on the leaderboard by opting not to ride in the dry.

He said: “I’ve never ridden the 1000 in the rain so it was important to get a few laps under my belt today. I only did 16-laps though because it is pointless taking too many risks with the first race so close.

“The surface wasn’t actually completely wet when I was out because this track dries so quickly but the first impression of the bike in the wet is really positive. With the extra power it is challenging to ride but I don’t think more difficult than the 800.

“Our chassis is quite similar to the 800, so it felt similar but the 1000 bike is definitely a handful. It is a handful to ride in the dry, so it is the same in the wet but I enjoyed it. The big positive today is I only used one set of rain tyres and I think some of the others used three.

“I think if I had put in a new tyre I could have been fastest in the rain. Hopefully the weather is much better tomorrow because I’ve got a few things to try. I was fast yesterday without trying the new Bridgestone front tyres, so I think there is some time to be gained with those.”

1  Nicky HAYDEN  Ducati Team  1:40.755  –  –  40
2  Karel ABRAHAM  Cardion AB Motoracing  1:41.661  +0.906  +0.906  39
3  Ben SPIES  Yamaha Factory Racing  1:41.726  +0.065  +0.971  26
4  Alvaro BAUTISTA  San Carlo Honda Gresini  1:42.711  +0.985  +1.956  27
5  Hector BARBERA  Pramac Racing Team  1:43.288  +0.577  +2.533  35
6  Ivan SILVA  Avintia Racing MotoGP  1:43.613  +0.325  +2.858  37
7  Franco BATTAINI  Ducati Team  1:44.264  +0.651  +3.509  48
8  Michele PIRRO  San Carlo Honda Gresini  1:44.761  +0.497  +4.006  9
9  James ELLISON  Paul Bird Motorsport  1:44.969  +0.208  +4.214  30
10  Danilo PETRUCCI  Came Iodaracing Project  1:45.336  +0.367  +4.581  24
11  Colin EDWARDS  NGM Mobile Forward Racing  1:47.968  +2.632  +7.213  26
12  Dani PEDROSA  Repsol Honda Team  1:49.822  +1.854  +9.067  25
13  Jorge LORENZO  Yamaha Factory Racing  1:50.088  +0.266  +9.333  28
14  Cal CRUTCHLOW  Monster Yamaha Tech 3  1:51.127  +1.039  +10.372  15
15  Andrea DOVIZIOSO  Monster Yamaha Tech 3  1:51.702  +0.575  +10.947  16
16  Mattia PASINI  Speed Master  1:51.772  +0.070  +11.017  12
17  Stefan BRADL  LCR Honda  1:51.778  +0.006  +11.023  23
18  Casey STONER  Repsol Honda Team  1:51.856  +0.078  +11.101  3
19  Valentino ROSSI  Ducati Team  1:51.910  +0.054  +11.155  18
20  Randy DE PUNIET  Power Electronics Aspar  1:52.397  +0.487  +11.642  8
21  Aleix ESPARGARO  Power Electronics Aspar  1:57.718  +5.321  +16.963  8
22  Yonny HERNANDEZ  Avintia Racing MotoGP  -.—  –  –  0

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt