Nicky Hayden's third day as a Ducati and Bridgestone rider saw the 2006 MotoGP world champion set the tenth fastest lap time, out of 14 riders, at the start of the Jerez test.

Appropriately, Hayden completed 69 laps of the resurfaced Spanish GP track, and claimed to be happy with the feeling from his Desmosedici, whilst acknowledging that he was 'clearly off the pace'.

Jerez was a particularly tough track for the 2008 Desmosedici - Hayden's new team-mate Casey Stoner leading the Ducati challenge in eleventh on race day in April - and that trend continued with the GP9 on Wednesday, when the top Ducati rider was Alice's Niccolo Canepa.

Former Ducati test rider Canepa was one place and 0.024sec in front of Hayden, but over 2.5sec from Hayden's former Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

"It has been nice to get back on the bike and get on with the job in decent conditions," said Hayden, referring to rain on day two of the previous Valencia test. "The new surface is perfect, the bumps have disappeared and the grip improved with every lap. They've done a great job here at Jerez.

"I'm quite happy with my feeling with the bike. The lap times came down with virtually every outing and that's positive, even though I'm still clearly a good way off the pace.

"We've got a lot of work ahead but the team is really close and we know that bike has the potential, so all we can do is keep working. Both tyre specs that we tried today worked well, although the softer one was obviously the preferable option in these temperatures.

"They've got no problem in terms of durability and I'm slowly starting to get used to the feeling the Bridgestones give back. Hopefully the good weather continues tomorrow," concluded Nicky.



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