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Valencia MotoGP: Nicky Hayden says Ducati progress clear even in wet

Nicky Hayden, Ducati, Valencia 2012Nicky Hayden shrugged off the effective loss of second practice, and declared himself happy with Ducati's start to MotoGP's 2012 finale at Valencia.

The American was fastest in a wet first practice, and then got himself into the top three despite completing just a handful of laps in a largely futile second session.

Despite the limited running, Hayden said the benefit of Ducati's latest tweaks had been apparent from the outset.

"Today we changed the set-up a bit on the rear and it was immediately better, so we did a good job there and gained some confidence," he explained.

"In the afternoon I did a couple of laps right at the end but there really wasn't a lot to be gained.

"The track is definitely a lot smoother than last year, and [in the dry] the grip felt pretty good.

"We've started the weekend off somewhat positively and hopefully we can build on that for the rest of the weekend."

While Hayden will remain a Ducati rider for at least one more year, team-mate Valentino Rossi will quit the Italian outfit to rejoin Yamaha immediately after this weekend's grand prix.

In the build up to the weekend Rossi admitted his frustrations at Ducati's apparent lack of progress during his two-year spell with the team.

Hayden insisted the squad had made progress, but conceded it has so far been insufficient.

"It's true we haven't solved the front of the bike, but I would say a lot of the stuff is better, there have definitely been some improvements from two years ago for me personally," he explained.

"But yeah, it's clear it is not enough.

"We don't have big tweaks [for the post-Valencia test], a couple of things with the chassis but we don't have anything major.

"We'll have to wait on that for the real winter testing.

"This test is to get a good direction, we have a couple steps on weight distribution to know which way to go on."

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