Having already one year of experience with Ducati – following a lengthly stay with Honda in the MotoGP – Hayden was deprived of a podium finish in Qatar on the last few meters by Honda's Andrea Dovizioso. However, he left the Losail circuit on a positive note, as he now feels much more comfortable on the saddle of his Ducati bike.
“This winter the bike is a little bit different, and I just feel a lot more comfortable on it and also with the team. It's the second year with the team after a long time on Honda's. It was a big change last year. I certainly didn't adapt the way I wanted to. But this year things seem to be going a lot better,” said Hayden in a video conference in Indianapolis.
“The engine certainly is smoother. And on the bottom, it just gives you a bit better feel when you open the power and try to accelerate out of the corner. This engine, you got more connectivity. You feel it better,” added Hayden.
Additionally, the 2006 MotoGP champion admitted he knows the areas in which he has to improve in order to challenge for consistent podiums this season. One of his main issues is that he fails to get up to speed right away, as he needs more time to adjust to the characteristics of each circuit. This is something he experienced during the winter test this year and hopes to adjust starting the very next event, in Spain.
“But the main thing for me, I need to go and be fast on a weekend that we show up on Friday and we don't have, like Qatar, two days of testing. And also like Malaysia, when I was quick. We had already been there once in testing, and it wasn't until the fourth day that I went quick. And that was one of my targets for this off-season was improve that,” added Hayden.