With team-mate Valentino Rossi sidelined due to sickness, Nicky Hayden was the only factory Ducati rider on track during day two of testing at Sepang on Wednesday.
“Rossi being away didn't change anything for me,” Hayden told Crash.net
. “We tried some head pipe stuff, wheelbase things, trying to get some more traction and reduce the pumping.
“We have been able to reduce the chatter compared with last time, quite a lot. The outright lap time wasn't great. I was going go for it with new tyres, but we had a little problem with the gear shifting and had to quit early.”
The American finished the day in twelfth place, two-seconds slower than former team-mate Casey Stoner, who led a Repsol Honda 1-2-3.
“They're rolling pretty good,” Hayden said of the Hondas. “Obviously I can't get caught up too much thinking about them, but the gap to the front is too big and doesn't make me happy at all. They're going fast. I'd say they are going to be in the 1min 59s tomorrow.”
Turning back to Ducati, Hayden confirmed that the Desmosedici hasn't undergone a radical overhaul since the end of last season - and that he and Rossi prefer similar settings.
“There is not a big difference between this bike and last year's bike. The engine has a little bit more torque. Couple of little bits here and there. It's not majorly different,” said the 2006 world champion.
“Valentino and I have very similar base bikes I think. It does seem that a lot of the things we like are quite similar. In the team meeting yesterday, I asked 'what did he do?', they said 'he tried this and liked it' and it turned out it was things I've already got.
“Actually it'd probably be nice if it was the other way, but a lot of the stuff he likes is stuff I've already found I like. That's at least made our side of the garage know we hadn't gone off the wrong way on silly stuff last year.”
Hayden's goal for the final day of Sepang testing is a simple one: "We need to gas it up tomorrow. I ain't gonna put a number on it, but we're gonna have to bear down on it and see where we end up."
The fastest Ducati on Wednesday was Aspar's Hector Barbera in tenth.