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Hayden tests Desmosedici GP9

Kentucky Kid makes his Ducati debut

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Oct. 27, 2008
Nicky Hayden made his debut on the Ducati Desmosedici GP9 at the MotoGP post-season testing session at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain on Oct. 27.

The 2006 MotoGP Champion warmed up with a lap on the 2008 model before hopping on a 2009 Desmosedici sporting special Stars and Stripes livery.

“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,” says Hayden. “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.”

The Kentucky Kid rode 79 laps in total and his best time was 1:33.960, good for 12th out of the 18 riders participating in the testing session. For Hayden, the testing session was less about setting fast times and more about getting used to a new machine. The Valencia test also gave Hayden, usually a Michelin rider, a chance to test rubber from MotoGP’s new spec tire supplier, Bridgestone.

Nicky Hayden shows his patriotism riding a star-spangled Desmosedici GP9.“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,” says Hayden. “We have not even changed a lot of 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.”

Hayden’s new teammate, Casey Stoner repeated the form he showed in winning the Valencia Grand Prix by recording the fastest lap time in the test session.

“We tried many things, some worked well, others less so, but this is normal because the bike is quite different in its characteristics and in its reactions compared to the GP8. We still have other things to try but the feeling is already excellent and in fact we were able to lap consistently quickly,” says Stoner. “I am very happy with the behavior of the engine that seems to me to be more progressive and predictable. The bike is more stable in braking which is really saying something because the GP8 was already very efficient from this point of view. We have to work more on the rear set-up but the potential is good, it is just a question of finding the right set-up.”

Stoner says he is confident Hayden will continue to improve on the Desmosedici GP9 as testing continues Oct. 28.

“I think that Nicky is content with his first day at Ducati, he continued to improve during the day and I am sure that with a few more days with the bike he will find himself in good shape,” says Stoner.

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