Nicky Hayden is excited about Ducati 2013 MotoGP
plans and has defended the factory's development during the past two seasons.
Despite signing MotoGP
superstar Valentino Rossi, Ducati has been winless since Casey Stoner's departure at the end of 2010.
Rossi finished seventh in last year's championship and is currently sixth in the 2012 standings, with two podiums in each season.
The seven time MotoGP
champion is returning to Yamaha next year, when team-mate Hayden - without a podium during “another tough year” - will ride alongside Andrea Dovizioso.
“Ducati are very focused. I can't say the results haven't come because they haven't been throwing stuff at it,” said Hayden.
“They really have worked hard, especially last year. Developing completely new bikes during the season was a big step, but unfortunately we just haven't made the step [on track].
“The other guys make it hard on us. The target is not sitting still. The target is still improving and they are doing their maximum. But hopefully with a year on the aluminium chassis, there will be a lot more data and understanding for 2013.
“The future at Ducati is certainly exciting. New management, new owners [Audi]. I was in the factory before Aragon and certainly the atmosphere was good and motivation high. Hopefully we can translate that into results.”
In terms of Ducati's 2012 developments, the most significant has been a new chassis and swingarm package used by Rossi to claim second place at Misano.
Hayden, who missed a test due to injury, got the new parts for Aragon and will continue with the modifications this weekend.
“Here I've got the same new chassis I had at Aragon. There it was only dry for qualifying, so not a lot of time to test it. I do have another swing-arm coming next week and we have some little electronic options to try this week,” he explained.
Hayden is lucky to be riding this weekend at Motegi, after sustaining a wrist fracture in his freak Aragon fall - which saw the American launched over a tyre barrier and onto a service road after running off-track.
“I was certainly lucky to get away without any more damage, but I did pick up another little injury in my wrist,” he said.