Nicky Hayden, Roger Hayden - Q&A: Pt.2
2 August 2010
Following the recent US Grand Prix, Nicky Hayden and younger brother Roger Hayden took part in a media teleconference hosted by Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Nicky finished fifth for Ducati at Laguna Seca, while Roger - who stood in for the injured Randy de Puniet at LCR Honda - claimed eleventh place in his first MotoGP appearance since 2007.
America's second MotoGP round, the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, will be held on August 27-29 - when Nicky will be looking to repeat his 2009 podium, while Roger will make his debut in the Moto2 class...
Up until around Round Six, the Dutch TT, you placed fourth a consistent four out of five rounds. But you didn't receive any (inaudible) until this weekend at Laguna, which by the way was an awesome race. What are the biggest struggles with the GP10, and do you think with more time on the bike next season, it will be even more positive?
Well, the biggest struggle, this year we had new engine rules, which has made it hard on all the teams. But our team is hanging on pretty well. It's going to be interesting how that plays out as we go down the stretch. Sure, more time with the bike, more time with the team is always good. Next year, things aren't all settled down completely. But we did a big step from last year to this year, and I would hope to be able to do the same next year. The bike has improved a lot from last year, and the engineers there are really committed to wanting to make it the best bike on the grid. And I've seen a lot of improvements really from last year to this year. From rideability, reliable, more consistent bike. Yeah, I think the bike has a lot of potential that we haven't even got to yet.
What's up with the haircut?
Ah, nothing. Ain't nothing behind it or nothing like that. Yeah, that's not going to stick. That's not a full-time thing. It's a home GP deal.
Casey said at Laguna, and has been saying recently that basically he can't get anything more out of the bike. The bike, he's gone as fast as it can go. How do you feel about that? Do you feel you can still get more out of the bike to make another step, or do you really need some development time and some new parts to get it going?
Well, it's a combination. I think the bike, in this game, if you're not improving, somebody else is. So you're going backward. Ducati, as the season goes on, it's not like we get a lot of new parts, this and that. Now they're focusing on next year and down the road. I'm sure we'll have some setup options and some ideas to test at the Brno test that we haven't tried yet. But as far do I expect some radical new parts? No. One of the things we need to sort out, we've been having big problems with our starts lately, me and Casey both. From me in Mugello to him at Silverstone and me again this week. Well, Barbera, what happened to him may have been related to the start. We can work that out. I know Casey, he's a good rider. He don't leave much out there. So I'm sure if he thinks the bike needs to improve, I hope we can improve it. But I think we have a good enough package to be winning races. Casey proved in Qatar, if he don't crash there, he wins that race quite easily. But that being said, we want to improve. We've seen a lot of the other teams making steps, especially Honda seems to have made a big step from the start of the season. So we need to do the same.
Do you know what you're going to be testing at Brno yet?
We had a brief discussion about it Sunday night in the post-race meeting after Laguna. But I don't think it's nothing major. There's a few things, just some setup options that we haven't really had time to try the last couple races. But I don't expect anything major. Find out more this week when the engineers get back to Bologna. And even for the teams, two weeks off. It's been a busy little stretch for these guys, so they can all get back to the engineers at the shop and find out where our next step's going to be.
Nick, you said at Laguna that Indy is your home race. Ben Spies said home races are special because the bike is either going to be on the podium or in the crash truck. Do you hold with that? Are you going to try harder to win there than anywhere else? Friends and family, et cetera?
You know, I'm not going to make any predictions or anything silly because I really feel like I try my hardest every week. But certainly, we'll go for it. Obviously we'll see when we get there what kind of pace we got. I can't make any bold predictions just yet, but certainly your home race you need to do something special and not leave anything on the table. So that's the plan.
At Indy, you'll be racing in front of more friends and family then anywhere else correct?
Oh, yeah. By a long ways. Laguna is somewhat a home GP. But Indy, we drive. It's three hours away. I literally can see the Indiana border from my house sometimes. It's right there. I'm a Kentucky boy. We had a few of the OG's came out to Laguna, but most people, as far as friends and family, hang out and wait for Laguna. I really value my home GP because my first couple of years when I joined the World Championship, there was no stop in America. We'd go to all these races and see these guys having their home GP, and I thought how cool that was. The closest I got to home was Brazil. I thought having a three-hour flight and one-hour time change from Miami was kind of like a home GP. So now to have two of them in America, I get to take full advantage of it and really appreciate it.
Henny Ray Abrams:
Nicky, Sunday night you spoke about the problem with your hand. Is this something you're concerned about? Is there anything you can do about it between now and the race?
We talked about it with the team. I don't think so. Kind of my fingers went to sleep. It's something that hasn't happened really since back in my AMA days. I had carpal tunnel, fixed it. Went away. Haven't had a problem since. I hope it was just a fluke deal. I was out on my bicycle this morning trying to feel about, “Do I feel anything strange?” We're looking into a few things. Really just put it down to a fluke deal.
Nicky, last year at Brno, you had a pretty good tussle with Colin and finished sixth. Do you anticipate being that high again? Is that a track you like?
Brno is I think a track all riders like. It's very different than the last two tracks we went two. Sachsenring and Laguna are the two tightest, the two shortest lap times by a long ways. And the gearing is really tight. For those tracks, we're not in sixth gear much. Brno will be a big change. It's big; it's open. It's not a track that I just love. The tracks you love are the ones you get the best results on. I like Brno. I've been on the front row; I've been on the podium there. It's a track I (inaudible). Also it's important with that test. As limited as testing time is now in MotoGP, you really got to take advantage of any extra time. The motors we get to test with don't come out of our allocation. So you hope for good weather and hope to make a breakthrough. Last year at that test on the Monday, we changed something with the geometry and was able to take a little step from there. And my results improved from basically that test on. It was something we found in the last 30 minutes of the test. It had rained in the afternoon, and we had waited and waited, and the track finally dried. Everybody went out and was able to get some stuff in, so that's important.
Roger, this is Paul Kelly from IMS. One final question before we end the call, for you. Talk about what it's like to have Kevin Schwantz as a team manager. To be able to go to a guy with questions who's … he's a legend. He's an American motorcycle racing legend. He's been there; he's done that. What advantage is that for you going into Indy on that Moto2 bike, having Kevin in your camp?
Roger Lee Hayden:
For me, it's nice to have a guy like Kevin on your side. But it's an honor because Kevin was one of those guys who I looked up to when I was growing up. For him to pick me to ride his bike, he could have picked anybody in America who would have loved to jump on a good Honda at your home round, the GP. Even this weekend at Laguna, he went out and watched and came into my box and gave me some pointers and stuff. It's really beneficial. At Indy, he can go out and watch and come back and tell me. When we go to Barber next week and test, he's going to be there to watch. He gives good, positive feedback. A guy who races motorcycles is going to be able to help you a lot more than somebody who is just a bystander.
I will say to the casual American fans that the Moto2 championship hasn't really maybe caught on here in America just yet because I don't think they completely understand it. But the fans that are coming to Indy, definitely be ready for some good racing because it's 35, 40 guys all within about two seconds. And I think Rog being in there might help draw some interest to the series, and if they give it a chance, they're going to like because we've seen some really good racing this year.
That's great, that's great. Nick, you've got a future in PR after you get done with riding.
Well, I'm being serious. I know the riders; I know the teams.
I know, I know. (Laughter).
We all like it. It's been pretty entertaining, that's for sure.
Yeah, no doubt. Forty bikes going into the first turn there. It's super-exciting. Nicky and Roger, we sure appreciate you guys taking the time. Nick, enjoy your couple of weeks off here, and we look forward to seeing both of you at the end of August in Indianapolis.