The 2006 MotoGP™ World Champion Nicky Hayden opens a new chapter in his career this weekend as he makes his Aspar debut, with fellow incoming teammate Hiroshi Aoyama joining him on ‘Open’ class Honda RCV1000R machinery.
Indeed with a new sponsor on board for the DRIVE M7 Aspar team and a new look to their livery, it has been all change over the off-season.
It has not been an easy preseason for the pair as they have adapted to completely new machinery and worked against the clock to arrive at the first race of the season in the best possible shape.
Both know only too well the level of competition they are up against but they are determined and highly motivated to find their best form at the opening round.
Hayden admitted, “Even though the last test went well and we made some important progress I honestly hoped we would be better prepared for the season and closer to the front by now. Anyway, in terms of the level of communication and the relationships in the team we are getting stronger and stronger. This will be my first race back on a Honda and my feeling with the chassis definitely helps, it's fun to ride.”
The American continued, “We are ready to start a new adventure and I am excited, looking forward to getting started. We know it won't be easy because there is a lot of strong competition but the simple fact that I am back in MotoGP for another season is a source of satisfaction and also motivation to do a good job. As a team we are hoping to get more and more competitive as the season progresses. Losail is not one of my favourite tracks but I like the feeling of racing under the lights.”
Hayden’s Japanese colleague Aoyama added, “Everything is new to me this year in terms of the bike and the team so we are still in a transitional stage but we were in Qatar just two weeks ago for a three day test and we gathered a lot of information that will be important this weekend.”
“The aim is to put everything we learned in the test into practice. The first race of the season always has a special and unusual feel to it. I am looking forward to getting there and giving it my best. The level in this championship is very high and there are a lot of strong riders in the Open category this season.”