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'Jorge Lorenzo was faster than Valentino Rossi a lot of times last season," said Hayden. "But Rossi's racecraft is amazing. On top of being hungry and an unbelievable fighter, he knows how to manage races."

biggest deal. I like this engine. The torque off the bottom, the way it puts the power down, is certainly smoother, more controllable, and the bike is more rideable; it's easier to find the limit.

There's not a big difference with the first touch of the throttle. From about

10 to 60 percent throttle, coming off corners, that's where it's smoother. Now, it's easier to control wheel-ies with the throttle. Once the wheel comes up, you can just knock back the throttle a little bit and ride it out. We haven't really lost any top speed, either;

at the first test in Malaysia, I was fastest in the rain.

Ducati always planned to go in this direction. When they built the 990, they started with the screamer and, after some years of development, went back to big bang. In the last couple of years, the engine has been so good; the focus has been on making the chassis behave.

I sometimes watch myself on TV and, believe me, it doesn't look like it feels. You don't see how much the bikes wheelie and what a problem it is for the riders. At the Sachsenring in Germany, for example, coming ofTthe last corner, over the hill, I'm halfway down the front straightway before I can really open it up, tuck in and not have to weight the front end and stand on the rear brake.

We haven't narrowed down which swingarm—aluminum or carbon fiber—we're going to use; we still have a couple versions to test. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. For me, the aluminum is better for initial edge grip, especially in slow corners with that first touch of the throttle. Also, once the tire breaks loose, I can find traction a little better with the aluminum arm. The carbon arm is more

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