“I'm dying to get back on top”
After seeing Casey Stoner run away with his MotoGP title this year things have been far from ideal for Nicky Hayden in 2007, but the Kentucky Kid relishes a challenge and is in a confident mood as the winter testing period commences.
the announcement this week that Hayden and Dani Pedrosa will remain on Michelin tyres in 2008 as expected, and after some positive early signs for the American onboard an updated RC212V for the forthcoming campaign in testing at Valencia, the former World Champion found time a quick Q & A session on his current thoughts.
After your first contact what is your impression of the new bike?
“I am quite impressed with it, this is the first time I have ridden it. It seems to be nearly ready, but obviously we still have a lot of work to do on it and to continue developing it, but it is a good start. If you ask me in a couple of weeks I will be able to tell you more.”
Can you compare it to the 2007 version?
“It is very similar, there are no big differences. Perhaps the biggest is the use of pneumatic valves, which are attracting all the attention. I like the rider position, the handlebars and the ride which are all very similar to the 2007 model. I also like the weight transfer, it is not so sudden and not as aggressive as on the previous bike.”
Repsol Honda announced a few days ago that it would keep its ties with Michelin. Are you pleased with this decision?
“Yes. They have a lot of work to do but that is because they can improve. They have not been at the level expected this year but I am dying to see the material that we are going to use next year.
Bridgestone has been ahead of us the whole year and I hope that next season we are stronger. The level this year was not good enough.”
Have you found something new in the tyre tests this time?
“Maybe, but the most important thing right now is to get used to the bike before thinking about testing new tyres.”
How hard was it to lose the number one plate?
“It was painful, something hard to swallow, above all because of how I lost it. I would have preferred to have been fighting and to have been stronger, but we were unlucky the whole season. It was a hard blow, I am not going to lie, it was frustrating for the team because we had hopes of doing really well. We can do things much better. What can I do? Just get over it and go out to win next year.”
So you're ready to fight for the title again?
“Of course. This was a very tough year. I am not at all pleased. Next year I have to ride at a much higher level, hope to be stronger and to have much more fun.”
What was the best moment in the 2007 season?
“I would say the pole in Portugal. It was a good reward after what happened there the year before. And it was good for the team because I have confidence in them and they have confidence in me too. The podiums in Holland, Germany and Czech republic were also good moments.”
And the worst?
“Not finishing at home, in Laguna Seca, that was very hard. The truth is that there were many bad moments, this what top class racing is like. But I realised that you have to learn form both the bad as well as the good and I am dying to get back on the top.”
Interview courtesy of Repsol Honda