Nicky Hayden feels his Drive M7 Aspar team made some 'important' gains with the Honda RCV1000R on the first day of the MotoGP test in Qatar.

The American star was ninth fastest overall with a time of 1m 57.574s and the fifth quickest Open class rider, but Hayden was in a positive mood on Friday as the first day of the pre-season test reached a conclusion.

"It was a pretty positive session, we were able to make small improvements every time we went out on track," he said. "The engine we had in came to the end of its life and we had to switch it, so we spent some time with the second bike and had to change a few components across.

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"The feeling with the second bike wasn't as good as we would have hoped but even so I am happy that we have taken some important steps forward.

"We have to keep working to improve the engine braking and gain some more confidence in corner entry."

Hayden was the leading Open class Honda rider, finishing ahead of newcomer Scott Redding on the Gresini machine, while team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama was 11th.