Nicky Hayden believes he will be in great shape in Australia if the weather remains wet for the rest of the weekend, having taken third place in today's rain-affected practice session. Both Ducatis were in the top three at Phillip Island this afternoon, with Hayden third behind teammate Casey Stoner and Yamaha's pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo.
Hayden said the conditions in the session, which was delayed by nearly two hours due to flooding on parts of the track,were extremely difficult, but was pleased with his bike's performance in the circumstances.
"Those were nasty conditions...I mean nasty," he said. "It wasn't so much the wet but the wind. It was really strong and for me it took a little while to get comfortable with being blown around so much.
"Other than that, the bike worked well in the wet. We made a little bit of a change to help the bike turn, keeping some weight on the front, for the second run and I was able to go OK. My pace wasn't too bad.
"Obviously, it could be all for nothing if the forecast is right and the conditions are dry from here on but at this track you have to be prepared for anything and take advantage of every situation. We're in the top three and very close in the wet so that's a good sign."
Stoner felt it was too early to say where Ducati really stood, whatever the weather.
"The conditions were difficult today and obviously we had the big delay, too, which is not the ideal way to prepare," said the home favorite, who is chasing a fourth consecutive win at Phillip Island. "Also we would prefer a fully wet session but it started to dry toward the end and that denied us the opportunity to confirm the settings or get a full understanding of the conditions.
"Other than the wind, which made things very difficult, it was quite a successful day. We made a couple of changes and I feel we made a little improvement with the bike but again because of the conditions we weren't able to get much of a direction.
"Hopefully tomorrow we get consistent weather, whatever it may be, so that we can get a proper idea of our setup in either the wet or the dry."