The first day of the planned three-day test session for HRC MotoGP riders at Jerez was cut short by heavy rain, which poured down until after lunch, and again late in the afternoon.

American Superbike champion Nicky Hayden took his RC211V five-cylinder four-stroke out onto the rain-soaked track to get some greater understanding of how his tyres would react to the conditions. Hayden has little riding experience on Michelin tyres in dry conditions, less still on full wet pattern tyres. The foul weather at Jerez gave the 23-year old the opportunity to acquaint himself with the Michelin's wet weather covers he is almost certain to use at some point during the 2003 season.

"The track is really running with water at times - it was better in the afternoon, but rained hard at the end," a soaked and freezing Hayden reported afterwards, "Basically, I was just getting in running time in the conditions. I have never raced on full wets in the US - the tracks are not as safe as in Europe.

"I first had to find my way round here on the RC211V. Once I had done a few laps, I began to feel comfortable on the bike in the wet, and I got a better feel as the day went on. In the end, I felt very comfortable out there. The bike is very positive in the wet, and the tyres felt really good. It wasn't very good for the team gathering information, but it was good for my experience."

Japanese MotoGP stars Daijiro Kato and Tohru Ukawa tested their RC211Vs, but could do little more than confirm wet tyre performance. They did not undertake the marathon session Hayden did, with both men keeping laps to the minimum necessary in the conditions.

MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi did not test on the opening day, as he preferred to wait for better climes and sat out the entire session.

"It was too rainy today," he explained, "We had nothing to test in the rain, so I decided not to ride at all. Tomorrow, I will ride, even if it rains. It's a pity about today, we had important test for tyres, but slicks!"



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