Nicky Hayden was reportedly on Ducati lap record pace when he tested Carlos Checa’s Panigale World Superbike at Mugello yesterday - after he had got over the shock of switching to Pirelli tyres.
Hayden turned in more than 30 competitive laps on the troubled bike and was straight on to 1’51.2 laptimes but was apparently non-plussed at the softness of the Pirelli tyres as he is used to the hard-as-concrete-by-comparison Bridgestones in MotoGP.
The test was cut short, however, after the American tipped off the laboratory bike and it couldn’t be repaired at the track.
Troy Bayliss turned in a best time of 1’51.3 during the bike’s development testing period while Hayden’s qualifying time at last year’s Grand Prix was 1’47.671 on the Desmosedici.
According to a factory source, after his shakedown laps Hayden got off the bike and manually prodded the front tyre to see if it should be that soft and move around as much as it did.
His performance, although not surprising, will lead to further speculation he will spearhead the development of the bike over winter and be the number one rider in 2014.
There have been no official communications from Ducati about his performance.