Nicky Hayden sure of Ducati turnaround despite gap to the front
|By Matt Beer||Thursday, April 4th 2013, 12:09 GMT|
Nicky Hayden has complete faith that Ducati can turn its MotoGP fortunes around, even though he thinks an enormous step is needed to get back on terms with the leaders.
Ducati has not won a race since the 2010 Australian Grand Prix. It started 2013 winter testing a long way off the pace, although it regained some ground as the build-up progressed.
A management reshuffle in the wake of Audi's acquisition of Ducati resulted in technical chief Filippo Preziosi leaving and ex-BMW Superbike man Bernhard Gobmeier coming in to take charge of the Ducati MotoGP programme.
Hayden said the management changes had not been matched by technical progress so far, but that better organisation in testing had already given him hope.
"There have already been some major changes with personnel, but on the bike at the moment I would say there haven't been major changes," he said.
"We need to open up our horizon and not waste time with little half-tenths. We need to make some real changes and some real gains. They've got a pretty good understanding of that.
"The testing has been changed and so far that has paid off. It can happen, I've no doubt about that. Ducati's built competitive bikes before.
"They've won races and championships. Right now they're up against it but I have no doubt that they can deliver."
The American is sure Ducati has already closed some of the gap apparent two months ago.
"It certainly hasn't been an easy off-season, starting with the first Sepang test where we really struggled a lot and our pace was terrible," Hayden said.
"But since then we've stepped back and improved. At the second Sepang test we made some changes with the bike with some weight balance and things, and it felt better there. It was more consistent and on entry felt better.
"Then at Jerez it was hard to judge because the weather was so bad, but in the little bit of dry time we had, although it was a shorter track so lap times were obviously closer, we were able to be somewhat competitive.
"We know it's not going to be easy, especially at the moment as the level is very, very high. You can't show up, make a couple of quick changes and find one second."