Hayden upbeat after a promising preseason
The preseason tests just finished and Nicky Hayden is already looking forward to the first Grand Prix of the season, which will be held next week at Jerez. After a year filled with ups and downs, the 2005 season seems to be his season, because both Honda and himself have shown to be in a great moment.
Getting on the highest step of the podium is his objective and that's what he has been and will be working for together with his new technical team. All teams have been working hard, but he knows that he's in a good position to fight on equals terms with the best riders to get the longed-for number one.
Q: In general terms, how do you assess your preseason?
A: "It's been quite a long preseason and I'm happy that it's finished. It's been fun but long. I'm ready to start the championship and to do what really counts. The real everyday work during the races is always much more entertaining for all of us. The preseason is a hard path; everything has to be restarted, the bike, the mechanics, the rider... But I'm really satisfied with how things have worked out. We've been improving day after day and we've been in the front in every test. It was a new team when we started, but now we understand each other very well and the atmosphere in the garage is very good. The assessment is positive but it's time to go for the results."
Q: How do you see your main rivals, such as Rossi, Gibernau and Biaggi?
A: "Valentino is with no doubt the man to be beaten, that's why he's number one. From a sporting point of view, Rossi will be the enemy number one until any other rider makes a big step forward. None of us has made that big step so far, but there are several riders that seem to be very strong. Sete, for example is in exceptional shape and he's mentally on a good level as well. Valentino will be the hardest rival and then Sete. There are some races where Max can do a good job too and be a tough rival."
Q: Would you add somebody else?
A: "Not to the fight for the title. But there are some riders and teams that have improved a lot. The championship is going to be great fun."
Q: How do you see the Honda compared to the Yamaha?
A: "From my point of view, the Honda is good overall, it's a complete bike, but the Yamaha is also a great machine. There are obviously differences; different riders, different parts... I try to set my bike under the best conditions to make it work as good as possible. Honda's got great technology and a lot of people working hard to find a good balance for all of the circuits. There will be tracks where the Honda adapts better and others less. We all have a great challenge ahead."
Q: And the RC211V 2005 compared to the 2004 bike?
A: "It's evidently improved, but there are no big differences. The engine works quite similar to last year. There are some small details that have been changed allowing us to improve. Michelin has also improved a lot. The new tyres are giving great performance, as well as the suspensions. Now we have to make the most of all aspects."
Q: The next time we'll see you on the track will be at the first Grand Prix of the season, how do you think it will be?
A: "I want to start the season really strong and try to get a good base to start with and improve, improve, improve. My aim is to be among the top in every session, every practice, every day, and then to fight to win races."
Q: A bet...
A: "I'm not a gambler: I don't like to bet and even less with the heart. We're going to give our best and try to set differences with respect to the rest."
Q: What are your plans from now until the start of the Championship?
A: "Definitely to have a rest. It's been a long preseason and the first Grand Prix is almost there. We haven't got much time, but it'll seem never-ending to me. We have to rest to be ready for the first race."