Ducati's Nicky Hayden says he may benefit from “more focus” from the Italian manufacturer this season following the departure of Valentino Rossi.
Speaking at a press conference during Ducati's Wrooom launch event in Madonna di Campiglio, Hayden emphasised that he had not been neglected during Rossi's stint in the team, but conceded: “There might be a bit more focus on me.”
The American says he is treating the 2013 MotoGP World Championship as a “fresh start” after earning a one-year contract this season – his fifth with Ducati.
Hayden confirmed that the 2013 Desmosedici is largely unchanged from last year and plans to continue taking “small steps” to improve its potential.
“I was in Bologna in the past days. We don't have a 'new bike' as such, it hasn't changed a lot from last year, but we're taking small steps,” he said.
“The engine rule is obviously a hindrance, but I see this year as a 'fresh' start.
“The bike in Valencia was quite similar to the one during the season, and in Jerez we worked mainly on chassis,” he added.
“Now we're looking to improve the test programme and we have an extra test rider. We're working on improving the engine management and generally make little steps.”
Hayden – who retains crew chief Juan Martinez this year – also said he believes Repsol Honda's rookie signing Marc Marquez will be a threat from the opening round of the championship in Qatar in April.