Ducati Inspired to Sign Hayden
“He certainly is very brave. With the telemetry you can see that in certain situations the bike wobbles in a scary way, even more than with Stoner, but he doesn't get off the gas. I think we've made a good choice,” admitted Preziosi in an interview for Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Ducati engineer revealed that people at Ducati were a bit skeptical before Hayden stepped on the bike on Monday – still bearing in mind last years failure with Marco Melandri – but all fears were dissipated after the American completed the first few laps. Hayden was almost 1.5 seconds off the pace in the first testing session on Monday but came in stronger on Tuesday to secure the top spot of the timing sheets on a rainy session.
Referring to the new engine developed by Ducati for the 2009 season, Preziosi added: “We were a bit afraid. Here we had an evolution - never gone on track, not even with test rider Guareschi - of what Casey tried in Barcelona. Even on the installation lap he did to prepare the bike for the riders, Vittoriano told us it was a good step forward. Most of all in smoothness and progression. Casey liked it very much too. The power is still the same, because that's practically imposed by the limitation on the amount of fuel. We've worked on the usual things: fluid dynamics and reduction of frictions. We'll see if it's enough.”
With Casey Stoner topping the testing session on Monday and Nicky Hayden proving to be a worthy competitor on a rainy Tuesday session (as he secure 1st place ahead of Honda's Andrea Dovizioso), Ducati have everything to hope for before heading into winter testings later on. Stoner already seems to have hit it off great with his new teammate – or so it's claimed by Ducati sources – so everything is in place for a fresh start in 2009.