Though most eyes were on Valentino Rossi's much hyped return to Yamaha during the first day of testing at Valencia, it was his replacement at Ducati Andrea Dovizioso that would appear further up the timesheets after getting his best lap in shortly before rain began falling.
Moving to Ducati from Tech 3 Yamaha, Dovizioso completed 41 laps on the GP12 – the most of any rider with the exception of Hector Barbera -, his fastest time of 1min 39.868secs coming in the opening minutes prior to the rain that washed out the rest of the day.
Indeed, though Dovizioso admits the weather didn't make his Ducati debut an easy one, he was content with getting plenty of mileage under his belt, adding that the machine performs well in wet conditions.
“I'm happy after my first day, mainly because I have a good feeling with my crew and I had a good lap time in the wet, even compared to the wet times over the weekend. The conditions weren't ideal for a debut on a new motorcycle, but anyway, it was important for me to do some kilometres on the bike.
“The Ducati is known for working well in the wet, and I can confirm that, but obviously, we have to try it in the dry. Unfortunately, it looks like the weather tomorrow will be like today.”
Nicky Hayden, meanwhile, helped Ducati tackle its work load, completing 30 laps himself, including a frame used by Rossi during his time with the manufacturer.
“It was a wet test day, but we did some exits. I was mainly testing some shock settings and some things that we didn't get a chance to try during the weekend because of the changing conditions. I also tried a different frame that Valentino had tried, and that I wanted to use in the wet.
“Obviously, dry weather would have been better, but it's never a bad thing to do some laps. It would be nice to get some sun tomorrow, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. If not, we'll probably ride a bit in the wet again.”