Nicky Hayden leaves Sepang with a brighter outlook after making gains from the first pre-season test in Malaysia earlier in February.

The factory Ducati rider's fastest lap of 2m 02.070s put him one position behind team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, almost half-a-second slower than the Italian on the third and final day of the test and 1.508s behind pace setter Dani Pedrosa.

Hayden, though, set his quickest lap overall on Wednesday of 2m 01.650s and remains committed to 'staying the course' as Ducati strives to bridge the gap to Honda and Yamaha in MotoGP.

"I was faster yesterday, but that was partly because my feeling today wasn't quite as good due to some things we were trying on the bike," he said.

"Overall though, I leave here more positive than after the first test.

"We've seen some progress in terms of both the time and the consistency, and I had a better feeling with the bike and was able to improve a little more as the days went on.

"We closed the gap a bit, and I had a much better feeling in the rain," added Hayden.

"The turning is still the main area where we need to improve, but although we knew the beginning of the season was going to be tough, we have to stay focused and keep the course."



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