Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden returned to the track to test their Ducati Desmosedici GP12 racebikes mere weeks after both undergoing surgery.

Rossi had a rod removed from his right leg, a remnant from the 2010 crash that broke his tibia. Hayden meanwhile is still recovering from surgery to repair a shoulder injured in a training crash. The injury affected Hayden’s performance at the previous test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Hayden says his shoulder is better but still not fully healed.

Returning to Sepang, the Ducati team started earlier than other teams, though a dirty track surface proved to be less than ideal, while the afternoon session was impacted by rain.

Hayden set the sixth fastest time at 2:03.132 and says his healing shoulder made the session more productive than the first Sepang test.

I’m obviously still not at 100 percent, but considering I had shoulder surgery three weeks ago, it went better than I expected. I felt much better than at the last test and was able to give some good feedback, so I owe a big thanks to Dr Ting and his staff. This is the first time I could really ride this bike well, and I enjoyed it. The chassis gives you a lot of feedback, and it’s easier to understand the limit. We made some changes throughout the day and I pretty much got quicker every exit. – Hayden

Rossi’s best time was 2:03.245, good for eighth on the day. Though he put in a lot of a laps, he wasn’t able to start testing new software for the GP12.

Paradoxically, we actually started too early this morning! It would’ve been better to start at 11 like the others, because before that the asphalt was quite dirty, and by the time the conditions started to improve, the tire already had about fifteen laps on it. We decided to save the second tire for the afternoon, but it started raining after lunch. As a result, we didn’t get much done today. We didn’t even start working with the new software that we have available for this test. On the plus side, we were able to confirm that the feeling in the wet is still pretty good with the GP12. Weather permitting, and with a couple more tires at our disposal, I think that tomorrow we’ll be able to work a little more comprehensively and understand things a bit more. – Rossi

[Source: Ducati]