Nicky Hayden had been home from Japan in the OWB for about 18 hours when he was given two hours to pack his bags and head for Spain, but he wasn’t complaining. The Ducati Marlboro rider was being given the opportunity to test the latest iteration of the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 after teammate Valentino Rossi was forced to withdraw after aggravating an old finger injury in his first lap crash in the Japanese Grand Prix. Though details of Thursday’s final day of Ducati testing at the Jerez Circuit weren’t released, it’s likely Hayden will get his first taste of the twin spar aluminum chassis that Rossi has previously tested.Ducati hadn’t originally planned to release information on either Rossi’s injury or Hayden’s testing, but those plans were thwarted by Hayden’s tweets, after which they issued a press release.
“Had been home from japan bout 18hours & haven lunch wit @ReynoldsWrap32 & rog when the boss called 2 see how soon I could be back to Europe,” Hayden tweeted of his Tuesday lunch in Owensboro with his brother Roger Lee and close friend Eric Reynolds.A later tweet detailed a brutal flight itinerary that began in Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday afternoon and ended in Jerez at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday night.”Evansville- Detroit-Paris-Madrid now waiting my last flight to Jerez, I sorry to complain but iam bout good on flying for the day,” he tweeted.
Rossi’s injury was newsworthy because he hadn’t mentioned it during his post-race debrief with journalists. The hand became painful and swelled up, and when he returned home to Italy further x-rays revealed a hairline fracture of the arthrodesis – a joint fusion – of the first and second bones of the pinky finger on his left hand. The injury was initially sustained in 1995 at a 125cc race of European Championship round in Assen when he crashed on the first lap and finished 11th. Rossi won the Italian championship that year and finished third in the European championship.
Hayden will use the last of Ducati’s eight test days of the GP12 on Thursday at Jerez. This will be the third day he’s tested the GP12, while Rossi has completed five days. But it will be Hayden’s first on the newest version, which Rossi last rode in Jerez just after the Aragon Grand Prix. Neither Hayden nor Rossi were specific about what version of the bike was tested, but it’s believed to have a twin spar aluminum chassis built by British specialists FTR to Ducati specifications. “Yeah, we have some day to spend for work on the 1000 Ducati for next year, so we try to understand as more as possible during this season for have a good base already from Valencia or also for the first test of 2012 in Malaysia,” Rossi said the day before the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. “And, yeah, the test was quite good. Nothing of special. We try to understand something more about the weight distribution and the rider position on the bike.”Yeah, the track was a bit dirty, so no fantastic lap time, but a lot of information, so we have to do a lot of work now, because we have to reduce the gap and try to fix our problem.”Hayden said he wasn’t certain what he’d be riding at the post-Valencia test. Asked if there was any point testing if he didn’t have the full aluminum twin spar chassis, he said, “Well, we don’t know that the aluminum frame is where our problem’s at. There’s nothing saying, ah, we’re going to be 100% sure on aluminum frame. We still got to make sure there’s more engine positions. There’s other stuff that could be missing the problem.”