As Hayden improves
Both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden improved their performance on what proved to be a more demanding second day of testing at Sepang than either of them had expected.
Stoner, still recovering from the effects of a wrist injury and operation, can
still only ride as for a few laps at a time and he is not able to push himself after a three month absence.
“The wrist is giving me a lot of problems and I can't manage more than two or three laps at a time, so it's difficult to work on set-up because I'm having to break off too often”, he explained. “We've still managed to do some work on improving the feeling on the GP9, with some changes to the rear set-up that have improved the bike in the area we were suffering the most. Now it is much easier to ride. I still can't ride how I want though and we really need to string a run of consistent laps together, although I know that if I can get a little closer to 100% fitness that problem will be resolved. Hopefully the wrist will feel a bit better tomorrow so that I can try and do a longer run and confirm the positive feedback we've had from the bike today.”
Hayden made an encouraging start to the day but then struggled to find the next step forward with the set-up and it was only towards the end of the session, when he went back towards his initial settings, that he felt comfortable again.
“We made a big improvement immediately this morning on used tyres and I was able to knock a second off my best time from yesterday. We struggled a bit in the afternoon, though, and didn't manage to improve any further. I can't push it on the harder compound tyre because it makes the rear move around so much more and the bike becomes unstable”, he explained. “At the end of the session we made a little change that improved the situation and I was able to get back onto my better lap times. The Bridgestones are really consistent and that makes our job a lot easier. Today I did 35 laps on the same front tyre without any problems! We know and I know that there is a lot of work to be done. Everything is still very new to me – the engine characteristics, the chassis and the tyres, as well as the way the team works together.
Obviously it's not easy to put all that together straight away. We're working hard though and the improvements will come.”
With the threat of rain looming but holding off for today, both riders are hoping for a dry final day tomorrow as they look to make some last-minute improvements before the end of the test.