Weather disrupted Nicky Hayden's three-day Ducati test at the Jerez circuit in Spain, but the three days were certainly better for him than this new teammate Andrea Dovizioso. For the Italian, the test was quite literally a pain in the neck.
Sunny but cold conditions marked the first two days, allowing Hayden to complete a full testing program on Wednesday and to post competitive lap times on Thursday, though a small crash robbed him of riding time when the track was at its best. On Friday, rain and wind made gathering much meaningful data impossible, though Hayden did a brief comparison between hard and soft rain tires, according to Ducati.
Unfortunately, Dovizioso managed to turn just three laps on day one before he was forced to the garage with a strained neck that kept him off the bike for the remainder of the test.
With the ban on testing now in effect, the team won't get back on track until the first week in February with a test scheduled for Sepang in Malaysia, February 5-7.
"Things didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped, but the test has been useful despite everything," Hayden said in a team release. "On the first day, we struggled a little bit getting up to speed, but we improved somewhat yesterday. We were able to evaluate the new frame and swingarm, as well as a few new settings. Today, though, the weather hasn't been kind to us. I did three exits in the wet, but it hasn't been dry enough for slicks. It would have been nice to ride in the dry today, as we wanted to confirm a few things and improve our pace. But, nonetheless, we got through some things and have a lot of information to work with. Thanks to the guys for all the hard work this year. Now we'll look forward to February at Sepang."
For Dovizioso, the test was a complete waste.
"It's a shame about the problem with my neck," the Italian said. "It's something I had experienced at the GP in Malaysia, where I crashed twice, and in Australia, where I crashed once, and both times I had physiotherapy treatments and anti-inflammatory medicine. It re-emerged last week two days after a crash on my motocross bike, but the same treatment worked and I felt fine when I came to Jerez for the test. Unfortunately, it happened again after just a few laps, and this time we weren't able to resolve it with physio and anti-inflammatories. It seems that the problem is probably bigger than we had previously thought, and I'll have to undergo some further medical tests."