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Comfort and confidence building for Nicky Hayden

Comfort and confidence building for Nicky Hayden

The Ducati Marlboro rider talks about the start of his second season with the factory team, and the American is feeling more assured about a range of factors for 2010.

Nicky Hayden’s display in the opening race of the 2010 season, the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, gave evidence that the Ducati Marlboro rider is in good shape for the new campaign after he finished fourth having battled for the third podium spot all the way to the finish line.

The American expressed his happiness with the new Desmosedici GP10 after the race, and now says he is feeling a lot more settled on the machine after entering his second season with the factory Ducati team.

“I just feel a lot more comfortable on it and also with the team. It’s the second year with the team after a long time on Honda bikes,” said Hayden. “It was a big change last year and I certainly didn’t adapt the way I wanted to, but this year things seem to be going a lot better. The communication with the team is a lot better than it was last year and I like the bike.”

Expanding, Hayden continued: “I would say the engine certainly is smoother, and has a better feel when you open the power and try to accelerate out of the corner. Now I need to go and be fast for a whole weekend from when we show up on Friday, and at a track we haven’t had two days of testing at, like Qatar. That was one of my targets for this off-season; to improve that. I guess we’ll find out at Jerez if that’s the case.”

Hayden’s discussion of the comfort he now feels as he goes into his second year with Ducati has something to do with the methods of operation. He and team-mate Casey Stoner work closely together, sharing information to help one another.

“Some things that work for him won’t work for me,” said Hayden. “But there are other times where he’ll come across something that works, and it’ll work for me. With the limited amount of track time we have this year and last year, even, you use every bit of information you can get.”

It is a process that spreads across the satellite Ducati teams as well, as Hayden added: “We share data and anything we want. To their credit, it’s open book around there. Even between Mika Kallio’s (Pramac Racing) crew chief to Héctor Barberá’s (Páginas Amarillas Aspar), they all work out of the same truck. Everybody’s playing for the same team around there, to try to beat the other manufacturers. There are no secrets, nothing like that.”

The elevation of Vittoriano Guareschi to Team Manager, whilst still maintaining his responsibilities as Test rider, has also been an added factor says Hayden.

“Vito has stepped in and has done a great job so far, and I’ve really been impressed with some of the things he has done. I’ve been a supporter of his from the beginning. A lot of people thought it was going to be too much for a guy with no real experience in that position. So far we’re off to a good start, and I think he’s a big asset to our team. I think we’ve got a good set-up.”

As the season progresses the new six-engines per rider rule will also play a part in how each team manages its campaign. Hayden touched on the subject and discussed how Ducati were preparing, after very briefly using a second engine in Qatar.

“The team has a plan for that,” he said. “On some weekends I’ll ride both bikes, but it just so happened in Qatar that we had tested there; we already had a pretty decent set-up. I actually just had one bike working well, and I didn’t really ever take the other one out except early on Sunday. That was just to do a lap to make sure it ran well in case I needed to jump on it for anything. But we’ll be using both bikes at most tracks a lot more frequently.”

MotoGP, 2010, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

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