The first winter MotoGP test finished today at Sepang International Circuit with a day that was affected by rather variable weather conditions, with intense heat in the middle of the day and a shower that cut short the planned work schedule at 5:25 p.m. Nicky Hayden had already finished riding around noon after having tried riding with heavy taping on his painful left shoulder. Still lacking the necessary strength to push hard, he and the team agreed it was best to finish early. As for Valentino Rossi, he continued until the rain arrived, finishing the session with the fifth-best time.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th, 2:00.824 (42 laps)
“We on the team are all happy with how this test has gone, especially today. With a 2:00.8, we’re starting to get to a decent time. The two Hondas and the two Yamahas are still ahead of us, but we consider this test to be a starting point. The most positive things we’ve achieved are that the front now lets me ride a little more as I’m able, that the bike reacts well to changes and that we have very clear ideas on what’s still missing. In particular, if we manage to improve the bike’s behaviour on acceleration, we’ll be able to take a consistent step forward. I know that the work has never stopped at Ducati, and now with the information we’ve gathered, they’ll keep working on the areas that we’ve identified. That might take a while, but there’s still some time before the first race. We have to keep improving, so we’re not getting too excited, but I’m pleased with how things have gone so far.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th, 2:01.729 (19 laps)
“Obviously, I’d like to have done more. I can’t really say it was a real test for me, but I did a few laps each morning in order to at least get a feel for the new bike, get a little data and understand a couple of things. Even in that limited time, I was able to make small improvements and go quicker each day. Ducati did an amazing job with this bike in a short amount of time. It’s smoother than any other Ducati I’ve ever ridden, it looks slick and it’s good to work on. It’s got good power, and the front end is working well, but with the extra power, now we’ve got to find better rear traction at the first touch of the throttle. With the few adjustments we’ve made, everything seems to be going in a good way, so now I just need to get healthy.”