Hayden Takes First Laps On 2009 Ducati MotoGP Machine

Monday, October 27, 2008

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A new era and new challenge in the career of 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden began Oct. 27 with testing at the 2.489-mile Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.

A day after the final race of his longtime association with Honda, Hayden, of Owensboro, Ky., turned 79 laps for his new team, Ducati Marlboro Team, with most of the laps on a new Ducati GP9 featuring a striking "Stars and Stripes" livery and carrying a small decal that said, "Chapter 2."

Hayden began the test session, which took place under hot and sunny conditions, on the GP8 model that 2008 Ducati riders Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri campaigned throughout the 2008 season. He quickly switched to the red, white and blue GP9, however, and despite his unfamiliarity with the bike, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 33.960 seconds, 12th fastest for the day.

Hayden's 2009 Ducati teammate Stoner was fastest overall at 1:32.464, while his former Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was second at 1:32.672 and 2008 World Champion and inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Valentino Rossi was third at 1:32.921.

Riders will continue Oct. 28 with a second and final day of testing.

A fan-favorite at the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP, Hayden and his fellow MotoGP World Championship riders are scheduled to return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second time on Aug. 28-30, 2009.

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NICKY HAYDEN (On first impressions of Ducati and the GP9): "It has been a very intense day and full of many things to test and to understand, but it was exactly as I expected it to be. I did just one run with the GP8 and then I switched completely to the GP9. Obviously there is a lot of work to do but I am happy, it was a good day that has allowed me to understand that the bike has good potential and, more than anything, I can say that I really enjoyed myself. This first day has given me an appreciation of the bike and the team. One of the things that really impressed me the most was the acceleration. I found myself pretty comfortable on the bike, and I really didn't make a lot of changes to levers and handlebars. We have not even changed a lot the settings, we have just made some small changes, some mapping settings, a couple of tires, in order to try and understand the direction of the bike and to feel comfortable on it."