Nicky Hayden reckoned he had work to do on his wet-weather performance despite being an impressive second-fastest in Estoril practice this afternoon. The Ducati rider was world champion Jorge Lorenzo's nearest rival in the session, just over a tenth of a second adrift of the Yamaha's pace, but felt he took too long to find that speed.
"Lately I've been quite fast in wet conditions but it takes me too long to get there," Hayden said. "If it's a wet race on Sunday and I'm going to be competitive then we need to be fast from the start so that's an area we need to work on if it rains again tomorrow."
He was very happy with his bike once he got onto the pace.
"This track doesn't have a lot of grip, especially on the rear. It's not a very abrasive surface but I had a really good feeling on the front – we just need to make some improvements on the rear," said Hayden. "We know the Ducati works well in the rain because the engine management system is good and that gives us a lot of control."
His teammate Casey Stoner was fourth-fastest and slightly disappointed with his times.
"We feel we could and should have been faster today but we struggled for some reason with edge grip," said the Australian. "When I picked up the bike, the traction was good but on the edge it wasn't. We also had some problems with the front brakes and I was having to adjust in every corner.
"Saying that, we're quite happy. I felt confident in these conditions and it looks like we're going to have more of the same over the remainder of the weekend. We have work to do but for the moment I feel comfortable."