Nicky Hayden was the leading Ducati rider during Friday practice at Brno, the American claiming fifth position as he put some holiday ideas to the test.

"It was certainly nice to be back in the saddle today and the bike felt quite good out of the gate," began Hayden, who was one-second from fastest man Jorge Lorenzo. "The two weeks away gave me time to think about some things and the team too, and together we were able to come up with some ideas that seemed to have worked.

"I have to say thanks to the team for that and for the job they did today - every change we made throughout the session made the bike more comfortable and improved the lap time so they all did a great job.

"The only bad thing is that they say there's a chance of rain tomorrow and we didn't get chance to try the soft tyre in the final ten minutes because we were ready to go with it but the track was damp.

"Having said that I did my best time on the hard tyre just when the spots of rain started to come down a little bit - I'm not sure what everybody else had in the bag but I'm sure we're not miles away for the first session. Hopefully it's the start of good things to come!"

Team-mate Casey Stoner, who spoke on Thursday about reaching his maximum potential too early in previous weekends and then not improving, will certainly hope for more after seventh on Friday.

"The session didn't really go the way I would have liked," said the Australian. "We struggled from the start getting comfortable with the bike, trying to get it working better through the middle of the turns. We made it slightly better and the lap times came down by a couple of tenths but no more.

"We've also struggled a little bit for rear grip. We spent the session out on the softer tyre because we thought the track would be dirty but never really found the pace that we needed. We tried a few different things to get it smooth over the bumps but still didn't find the grip we were looking for out of the corners.

"In the last two sectors we look okay so we'll be working hard on the first half of the lap tomorrow. We have a long way to go but if we can improve through there I'll be happy."

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