Nicky Hayden was delighted with the setup breakthrough that allowed him to set the third-fastest time in MotoGP testing at Sepang today.
The American has been unable to match his teammate Casey Stoner so far in his Ducati career, but today the duo took second and third, with Hayden only 0.191sec slower than Stoner despite not being at full fitness following recent arm surgery.
Hayden put the improvement down to some adjustments made on Thursday.
"I am obviously really happy because the changes we made yesterday afternoon that enabled me to go a couple of tenths faster despite the heat have proved to work even better today with the track in improved condition," he said. "After making small steps for the last few test sessions today we have finally taken a big leap forward and I was able to ride fast."
He said is arm had not been too much of a factor, but was not yet in peak condition. "The arm wasn't too bad but it still isn't as strong as before, which I can feel more than anything in the hard braking, and it was hard work today," Hayden said. "Anyway, I am recovering well and now we move on from Sepang feeling really happy."
Although Yamaha's Valentino Rossi has been fastest in every test so far, Stoner feels Ducati is also in great shape, having been close behind Rossi at Sepang this week.
"We are really satisfied with the package we have now and the progress we have made so far," said Stoner. "If you ask me, I'd say we are starting off from a stronger base than last year so now we'll just have to wait and see if we can get straight on the pace in Qatar."