A wet track in the morning delayed the start of testing until midday, when Hayden ventured out to resume engine comparison work he began yesterday aboard the 2007 machine.

Once complete, the 26-year-old spent the rest of the afternoon on the 2008 machine, working on engine settings and testing front tyre options in conjunction with Michelin. The American went on to set the sixth fastest lap time, 0.6secs behind Friday leader John Hopkins.

"Overall I'm really pleased with today, it's been very positive," said the 2006 world champion. "We could have ended up with no track time today after getting to the circuit and having to wait three hours for the track to dry. In the end it was a good day. I went out on the 2007 machine first to confirm a few things and within a handful of laps I'd gone one second faster that yesterday so that was pretty encouraging.

"Then I devoted most of the afternoon to the 2008 machine," he confirmed. "We played around with the engine mapping and tried some front tyre options from Michelin. We're still looking for a bit more power but it's not easy, the machine is brand new so all the team is learning. After the Valencia test last week we thought it might be a tough ask to come to Sepang and do as well as we have today - we thought we'd be further away, so to do the lap time this afternoon and match the 2007 machine lap time is very positive."

Hayden also experienced the Malaysian wildlife at close quarters today when his knee collided with an unfortunate snake at Turn 11 of the 5.548km circuit. The Repsol Honda rider emerged unscathed from the encounter but the snake was not so lucky...

"I smoked my first snake, the poor thing," confirmed Nicky. "I was just heading through turn 11 when the snake sat up and I saw it but I was committed on the apex of the corner. I picked the machine up and tried to avoid him but caught him with my knee. I'm pretty sure it was a cobra and I'm sorry for it."

Hayden's team-mate Dani Pedrosa is not at the test.