“It's got some pretty trick parts and it looks really cool”
Repsol Honda's newly crowned MotoGP World Champion, Nicky Hayden, yesterday returned to the scene of Sunday's fantastic title victory to get his first taste of the bike he'll campaign next year, Honda's stunning
Sporting the number-one plate the American has confirmed will replace his iconic ‘69' racing number, Hayden completed 87 laps of the Ricardo Tormo circuit. Though the intention was simply to make initial adjustments to the riding position and find base settings, Hayden set a best lap-time of 1m 33.66s, just 0.68s behind his fastest lap of Sunday's race.
Hayden was joined by Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa who was also testing the RC212V at the 4.005km (2.487 miles) circuit. Pedrosa had already sampled the new machine, having completed 30 shakedown laps at the test session that followed the Grand Prix of Japan in September. The 21-year-old MotoGP Rookie of the Year set an impressive time of 1m 33.21s today, 0.11s faster than his best race lap on Sunday.
Another day of testing will take place here today before the hard-working Repsol Honda Team packs up in preparation for a trip to Malaysia for a further three-day test, beginning on November 15.
Nicky Hayden (Lap time: 1m 33.66s Laps completed: 87)
"I enjoyed riding the new bike today and I'm quite excited because it's got some pretty trick parts and it looks really cool. I got down into the 1m 33s lap- times pretty easily this morning which is a good sign."
"The new bike feels like it's got a lot more traction – especially under acceleration.
The power delivery feels a lot smoother, and when you first open the throttle you don't need to get the bike picked up as much as you did with the 990. It feels a lot lighter but actually the weight is not much different. The bike definitely feels quite small and has a different feeling that I'll have to get used to. We're already going around the corners faster than the 990cc bike and it's going to require a different style of riding. It does have high corner-entry and corner speed and I'll have to adapt a few things with my style."
"Sunday almost feels old now and I know we've made Valentino mad by taking his title, so I'm looking forward to taking him on next season. I want to come back next year and win again on this bike. To win one title is great but to take two of them takes you into another elite group – so I'm still hungry."
Dani Pedrosa (Lap time: 1m 33.21s Laps completed: 73)
"The feeling from the bike here, at a European circuit, is more or less the same as in the first test in Japan. We have ridden for many more hours today, so that's been good and I've been improving bit by bit. We've made general tests to start finding the best set-up and to get closer to the performance during the Grand Prix. There are some differences compared to the 900cc machine."
"This bike is obviously totally different to the previous one, but in the end it's also a motorbike, so the way to work with it is the same. I still have to find the right way to ride it because I'm still used to the other bike. However, it will soon come naturally as we continue lapping. As regards to the tyres, we've been using the same specification as we used during the Grand Prix weekend."
Valencia MotoGP – 01/11/06: (unofficial lap times)
1. Valentino Rossi (Camel Yamaha 800) 1m 32.70s (21 laps)
2. Toni Elias (Gresini Honda 990) 1m 32.73s (87 laps)
3. Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda 990) 1m 32.90s (67 laps)
4. Valentino Rossi (Camel Yamaha 990) 1m 33.10s (43 laps)
5. John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki 800) 1m 33.14s (29 laps)
6. Loris Capirossi (Marlboro Ducati 800) 1m 33.17s ( 53 laps)
7. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki 800) 1m 33.18s (40 laps)
8. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda 800) 1m 33.21s (73 laps)
9. Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro 800) 1m 33.43s (77 laps)
10. Alex Barros (d'Antin Ducati 990) 1m 33.64s (61 laps)
11. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda 800) 1m 33.66s (87 laps)
12. Jeremy McWilliams (Ilmor SRT 800) 1m 35.80s (38 laps)
13. Andrew Pitt (Ilmor SRT 800) 1m 36.60s (21 laps)