The 2006 world champion could only muster a 2:03.319 compared to Marquez's 2'00.286 and was also two seconds adrift of Aleix Espargaro on the works Yamaha powered FTR, his main rival in the Open class. It is thought that Honda have put a conservative 1000km limit on the spring-valve engines, so they will last at least two races. This may alter somewhat after testing concludes in Malaysia.
"We got a lot of work to do. I'm not completely thrilled because we are quite far off the front guys. Everything is clicking away, it's just the first day. The electronics were definitely better than in Valencia, they have smoothed out a couple of the flatspots but we have to still work a lot on acceleration and the engine because that is where we are losing the most, along these big straights and out of the slow corners," said Hayden, speaking at Sepang.
"It think it is a power problem. Of course, we can try to help with electronics but now we are basically full power everywhere. Once I started going a little faster I started to get a little chatter, but that's normal for here.
For sure we need more power. The first exit or two we had a little margin in some places but now we are wide open. Not so much on the edge. It's a new project and something very different for Honda. This track too, is very big. Maybe if we were at Jerez I wouldn't be complaining about it. I am sure they are not going to sit still, they will want to improve as they get more data."
When asked to make a comparison between the production Honda, which still costs the business end of a million dollars, to the factory Ducati Hayden said it just felt different, if a little less sophisticated.
"Compared to the Ducati, it's quite a lot different. For sure, the chassis over the bumps soaks them up quite a bit better and it is a lot less physical. On the Ducati, you do one day here and it's really tough, but once we get the engine running better, I am sure this bike is going to get a lot more physical.
"For sure it is less sophisticated, less options. Some parameters are quite a lot different, you only have one wheelie control, where with the Ducati you could do every straight and corner, but the bike is so different is hard to understand what is engine character and what is electronics.
"The electronics are very new, already quite a good step from Valencia in terms of power delivery and taking out flatspots. In Valencia, I was having trouble coming out of the corner, having a flatspot and breaking windshields!"