Base to build on for Hayden and Aoyama

Monday, 24 March 2014

After their preseason test times and with an uphill battle facing them on new machinery from the fifth row, Drive M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama were not overly disappointed with eighth and 11th at Losail.

American former World Champion Hayden returned to racing a Honda after several years away from the Japanese manufacturer and whilst he missed out on seventh on the line to fellow Honda RCV1000R-equipped rookie Scott Redding he took the positives from his Aspar debut.

Overcoming the challenge of Pol Espargaro before battling with Redding in the latter stages, Hayden reflected, “We had to change our start procedure tonight and it wasn't easy, there were riders everywhere but I managed to get into a better rhythm than the test and practice here, setting consistent 1.56s. I tried everything to stay with Pol Espargaro before he stopped, but in the end I had worn out the left hand side of the tyre and ran off.”

“It ended up a straight battle between me and Scott Redding, we passed each other a few times and he got me on the line. A few riders crashed but we made it to the end and picked up eighth. We set a great pace at the start of the race, now we need to work on the second half and try to improve on what we have learnt here. I want to thank the team, Honda and all the sponsors for their efforts. Now we need to look ahead to the next race.”

Aoyama took advantage of a big step forward with his set-up on Saturday to take 11th and pick up five important points following a race-long battle with Yonny Hernandez.

The Japanese rider stated, “It was a tough race because as the night progressed the temperatures dropped and the feeling with the tyres worsened, which is why so many riders crashed. Personally I chose the softest option tyre and it was difficult to adapt my pace according to the temperature but I got in a fight with Hernandez and even though my pace was better than his I couldn't get away.”

“If I hadn't got caught up with him I might have finished higher up but anyway I am happy because it has been a tough weekend and the team has done a great job. We found a good setting yesterday and it has paid off today with eleventh place.”

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