Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden likes to put in a full day’s work – even if it’s the night shift. And that’s what he did today in the opening practice session at the Losail Circuit in Qatar as he turned more laps in the 45-minute session than any other MotoGP rider – 20.

Hayden lapped at a best of 1:56.670 to finish in the top 10 – a time that matched his best from the pre-season tests held in Qatar two weeks ago. Hayden’s best lap came on his 18th and he was happy in the improvements made to his RCV1000R.

“At the start of the session I was struggling to get comfortable with the engine braking in corner entry, but after a few laps and especially after the red flag we managed to slightly improve the situation,” Hayden said in a team release. “We have more or less got the same setting and feeling that we established by the end of the last test, with some changes to the gearbox setting that have helped us in the straights. That has helped us to close the gap to the guys at the top. The bike is working better in the higher gears and pulling harder down the straights. We also made a chassis set-up change that is helping me get the bike stopped. To be honest it feels better than expected, which is a nice way to start the first Grand Prix of the season. The test we had here was obviously very useful, we are making progress every day and the relationship with the team continues to get smoother and stronger.”

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Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America’s Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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