Ducati MotoGP riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso say they decided to keep their track time at Jerez to a relative minimum so as not to waste their limited set of wet weather rubber.
Having struggled to match the Yamahas and Hondas for pace at Sepang, Hayden and Dovizioso came to the final MotoGP pre-season test in Spain determined to bridge the gap to their main factory rivals ahead of the opening round in Qatar.
However, with Hayden back on a bike after recent wrist surgery and Dovizioso getting his first mileage on the GP13 in wet conditions, neither was keen to push too hard, the American completing 20 laps and the Italian managing 22 laps.
“Of course the rain was a big factor, especially this morning, but I was able to get on the track this afternoon,” said Hayden, who set the seventh best time. “I wanted to check a few things with the electronics and get some track time here on the bike that has the revised weight distribution.
“I didn't want to do many exits today because we only have four sets of rain tyres for the three days, and this track uses them up quickly. We made a few small changes, and each time the feeling was a little better. My wrist was a bit stiff when I first went out, but I had no numbness or pain, at least in the wet. Hopefully we'll get some dry track time over the next two days, because we'd also like to work on a setup for the race when we come back here in May.”
Preferring to take his time understanding the GP13 in the wet, Dovizioso limited his wet tyre use over the course of the day, setting the tenth best time on used rubber in the afternoon.
“I went out this morning in order to get a better feeling in the rain, and there was really a lot of it at first. I wasn't worried about the lap times because it was my first time in the wet with the GP13. We only have four sets of rain tyres to try in three days, so we couldn't do all the testing we wanted or even try and go for a quick time.
“Because I rode this morning, I only had one tyre for this afternoon, and when the conditions were faster, I did my best time with a used tyre. Anyway, today's times aren't really a reference. We also did some tests to improve with the electronics, but unfortunately today we couldn't do a real evaluation because of the weather conditions.”
Meanwhile, Ducati test rider Michele Pirro was fifth quickest, while Andrea Iannone on the satellite Pramac machine was fourth best.