Riding at Spain’s Jerez circuit, Hayden completed 61 laps on the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 despite not getting started until the afternoon because of wet track conditions. Hayden’s Ducati Marlboro teammate Valentino Rossi put in 50 laps on the GP12 the day before.
“When I woke up this morning, the sky was really gray and the track was completely wet,” says Hayden. “I was pretty disappointed. I didn’t think we’d be able to do anything because it wouldn’t have made sense to waste a day testing in those conditions. The situation got better and better though, and after lunch, I was able to put on my leathers. I couldn’t wait to ride, and it was worth the wait.”
Test riders Franco Battaini and Vittoriano Guareschi also put in a day of riding, giving Ducati a lot of data to further develop the Desmosedici GP12.
“First of all, I’d like to thank everyone at Ducati,” says Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse technical director, “because thanks to their hard work and expertise, it was possible to carry out three days of trouble-free testing and complete nearly a thousand kilometers with the GP12 in its track debut. Having received consistent feedback about the bike from four different riders puts us in a position to efficiently continue the development process because we can prioritize the work we have left to carry out.”
Ducati isn’t releasing many details about the Desmosedici GP12. Preziosi admitted after Rossi’s test the GP12 is using a big-bang firing order. MotoGP regulations are switching to a larger 1000cc displacement limit from 800cc in 2012, and the last time Hayden rode a 990cc MotoGP bike, he captured the 2006 World Championship.
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“It’s an honor to be able to participate in the first track test of the GP12 because it doesn’t happen very often that you get to ride a bike on the track for the first time: it’s a special feeling,” says Hayden. “Everything went well, and we didn’t have a single problem: the motor is really nice to use, and I had a lot of fun riding the bike. I hope I gave some useful feedback to Filippo and the boys. I know they’ll be working on this bike while we go back to focusing on the next race, because this season just started.”