Ducati arrived in Malaysia with both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden still not at 100% fitness following their respective post Sepang 1 surgeries, but that didn’t keep Hayden from being the fastest Ducati rider on track and pipping his own team mate by a little more than one tenth of second and finishing in 6th spot on the first day.
Despite an early start by both riders, a dirty track and then the rain storm interrupted their testing schedule without Rossi having tested the upgraded electronics package that the test team tried out during the private test a Jerez last week, leaving the Italian in the 8th spot with the usual almost 1.5 second gap from the top of charts.
Rossi also debuted his graphics on the new and more aerodynamic AGV helmet that also includes a tribute to the late Marco Simoncelli.
Nicky Hayden - 2:03.132 (32 laps)
“I’m obviously still not at 100 percent, but considering I had shoulder surgery three weeks ago, it went better than I expected. I felt much better than at the last test and was able to give some good feedback, so I owe a big thanks to Dr Ting and his staff. This is the first time I could really ride this bike well, and I enjoyed it. The chassis gives you a lot of feedback, and it’s easier to understand the limit. We made some changes throughout the day and I pretty much got quicker every exit. It would have been nice to ride in the rain, but I didn’t want to do something silly and crash on the shoulder. Hopefully it’s not too sore when I wake up so I can do another half-day or so tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th, 2:03.245 (39 laps)
“Paradoxically, we actually started too early this morning! It would’ve been better to start at 11 like the others, because before that the asphalt was quite dirty, and by the time the conditions started to improve, the tyre already had about fifteen laps on it. We decided to save the second tyre for the afternoon, but it started raining after lunch. As a result, we didn’t get much done today. We didn’t even start working with the new software that we have available for this test. On the plus side, we were able to confirm that the feeling in the wet is still pretty good with the GP12. Weather permitting, and with a couple more tyres at our disposal, I think that tomorrow we’ll be able to work a little more comprehensively and understand things a bit more.”