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Improved Hayden showing good signs at Donington

Improved Hayden showing good signs at Donington

World Champion Nicky Hayden appears to be increasingly comfortable with his Honda RC212V's new chassis since testing at Catalunya and was the fastest man on track this morning at the Nickel & Dime British Grand Prix.

World Champion Nicky Hayden appears to be increasingly comfortable with his Honda RC212V's new chassis since testing at Catalunya and was the fastest man on track this morning at the Nickel & Dime British Grand Prix.

The third MotoGP free practice of the weekend saw none of Friday's rain, with the Donington Park track drying out after yesterday's showers, and subsequently the pace increased by approximately 15 seconds from day one's times.

As is so often the case Hayden put in more laps than any other participant and his perseverance through adversity this season may just be starting to pay off as he finally found himself topping a timesheet, on this occasion by 0.131s ahead of compatriot John Hopkins of Rizla Suzuki. Though Hayden will be the first to admit that it is qualifying and race day where results count most he will be pleased to have made some apparent progress and will look to cash in on his improvements in the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, at one stage in the morning run-out Hayden's team-mate Dani Pedrosa looked as though he had lost control of the RC212V while cornering, but finished third fastest, while the quickest rider from Friday's sessions in the rain, World Championship leader Casey Stoner of Ducati Marlboro was fourth on the timesheet. Pedrosa was just 0.001s slower than Hopkins, with Stoner only 0.004s off Pedrosa.

Experienced Spaniard Carlos Checa lapped fifth fastest onboard his Honda LCR machinery, while another solid display from Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet resulted with him ending up sixth. Fiat Yamaha colleagues Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi will hope for better fortunes this afternoon with the highly rated Michelin qualifying tyres at their disposal, after finishing seventh and eighth in this session – Rossi suffering a light crash on exit from the pit lane at one point.

Honda Gresini's Toni Elias and Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen completed the list of top ten riders, the first nine all lapping within a second of Hayden.

Kawasaki debutant Anthony West found the going tougher in his first free practice session in dry conditions, the Australian wet specialist lapping 18th fastest this morning after impressing in Friday's rain.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, NICKEL & DIME BRITISH GRAND PRIX, FP3

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