Nicky Hayden says motivation at Ducati hasn't waned as a consequence of the manufacturer's difficult first half to the 2011 MotoGP World Championship season.
Ducati has been the focus of much attention this season following the high-profile acquisition of multiple champion Valentino Rossi, but the disappointing performance of the GP11, compared with Honda's series-leading RC212V and Yamaha's YZF-M1, has been attracting the headlines of late.
With just two podiums – one each for Rossi and Hayden – so far this season, Ducati rushed out the heavily-revised Ducati GP11.1, a bike Rossi has taken time to acclimatise to.
Nonetheless, on the weekend that Hayden will get his hands on the GP11.1 in a racing capacity for the first time at Indianapolis, the American insists Ducati are working hard to ensure they return to prominence.
“I've been impressed,” he said. “Nobody has lost hope. Nobody is complaining, pointing fingers. Really, everybody's just working to try and make it better, especially on my side of the team. They've worked like dogs to build new bikes, come in and give us more options. Everybody at Ducati, they don't like losing, either. It's how it goes sometimes.
“I've learned a lot. You learn more about people when they are struggling than when they're on top. It's easy to smile and say all the right things when you're doing good and everything is rosy, but that's not exactly been the case for us this year. I told Fillipo (Preziosi) that after the last test. I've been impressed with his team and how all the guys have just kept their head down and kept working.
“Those guys, they get there early and stay late. Some of the engineers I spoke to back at the factory, they're all on board. I've got to believe that hard work and that good attitude is going to pay off in the long run. It normally always does, and I hope this is no different.”
Despite the lack of podiums, Rossi and Hayden are the only MotoGP riders to finish every race inside the top ten this season.