Hayden seeing the light

Sunday, 20 February 2005

Hayden seeing the light

Nicky Hayden insists he still has plenty of work to do with the 2005 version Honda RC211V before the start of the season but admits to making a major breakthrough in the recent tests at Phillip Island.

Hayden was the fastest Honda rider over the three days, his best lap of 1'29.780 bettered only by World Champion Valentino Rossi, and completed a full race simulation some 28 seconds faster than his time at last October's Grand Prix.

After a marathon 106 laps on the final day, Hayden was satisfied with his performance and is already looking to the next session at Qatar in just over a week's time.

"Today was the best day of the test for me, I got a good, long run in and recognised a bit more where we need to improve, both myself and the machine," said Hayden.

"I felt good and we made some positive steps forward and the race time I did was 28 seconds faster than my race time last year so we're pretty happy with that - but it's still not enough.

"We'll take away what we've learnt here and move on to Qatar. I tried both chassis options that we've got and we learned a lot about the differences but overall I just felt more consistent today and some of that's down to me getting into a rut yesterday.

"We're still a new team but the atmosphere's good and we're gelling really well."

Hayden's Repsol Honda teammate Max Biaggi worked even harder on the final day of the test, putting in 120 laps as he worked his way through a long programme of tyre testing for Michelin. At the end of the day Biaggi was close to exhaustion but pronounced himself happy with the results of the three-day test and the performance of his new technical crew.

"I am tired today after so many laps but I wanted to give Michelin the information they needed from the tyres they asked me to test - but I was praying for the red light at the end of the pit lane to end the day's testing!" said Biaggi, who clocked a best time of 1'29.880.

"At times today it was a little difficult as there were some spots of rain, which did little for your confidence, especially in the fast sweep into turn one. Overall we have had a good test and confirmed our feeling and direction with the machine set-up following last week's test in Sepang.

"We know the areas we need to improve on and we have three tests in March to achieve that."

Makoto Tanaka, Repsol Honda Team Manager added: "Overall we've had three good days here at Phillip Island. Max probably did too many laps today but it was good that he tried the tyres for Michelin.

"Nicky had a good day today and discovered some areas of set-up which improved his performance. We know we still have a lot of work to do and will continue to work hard towards improving the machine in the next tests in Qatar and Spain."
TAGS 2005 Nicky Hayden

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