10 August 2012
Interview with Nicky Hayden
Absolutely. Audi is a great partner for Ducati, both financially and technically. If you have to be partnered with somebody, I see a strong company and something new and fresh, and that is one of the reasons I was so excited about coming back for another year and see what we can do. How quick it is going to change? I don't know, really. That takes time, and that isn't something that just a couple of engineers are going to show up and whatever. Like anything, it is going to take real work and real time, and I see it as a big positive for Ducati, for a race team, for everything.
Have you mentioned chassis parts coming in down the road? Have you tested more than one chassis or have your tested more derivatives of the original chassis?
The actual chassis from the start of Malaysia, I wouldn't consider it that much testing because I was injured. But yes, I am using the same actual chassis that I started the season with. We have had some modifications to the chassis, some stiffness here, and we changed parts after Mugello, but the actual chassis is the same.
Where are you in terms of engine wear this year?
I am on schedule. It is a bit tight, but nothing that we can't handle if we don't have any problems, so I think I will be in another new engine soon. But at the moment, we are right on schedule for the mileage.
There was some talk about a new spec engine for Laguna but, if I remember correctly, largely electronics. Any more talk about that?
No. I did put in one new engine at Laguna, but the spec wasn't much different. Maybe a few little parts had changed, but maybe later in the season this engine has the capability of putting updates to it. Once the engines are sealed, you can't touch them. But with the new engines, you can add some parts to help with the electronic stuff. But what I raced with was very similar to what I have been running this year.
I was wondering with all the changes you have made you are basically making a tenth here a tenth there, but you really aren't in the fight for the win. Do you think you need a new chassis and a new engine? Some people say it isn't the right shape or the right place to be truly competitive. Or do you think you can sort of phan-agle something that works?
Well, I am a rider and I am not an engineer, so certainly I don't try to overstep that. I can tell them it needs a new, but new is not always better. Especially midseason when you start throwing new parts at it. It doesn't work normally that easy. Every now and then you can hit on something new, and it is automatically better. Normally when you bring in anything new, it takes time to make it work and adjust. It is hard to say. Last year we brought in new chassis and made big changes during the season, and I would say it hurt us. Things became confused. We lost track; we lost our way a bit. So it is clear that we need to do a big step. A tenth, two tenths isn't going to help us. Usually I give my feedback to the engineers and whatever they say it needs. Of course, we have to fix out understeer, and we have to make it stiffer and better. Some of it could be caused from the engine. Whatever it takes to fix that, I would say it has to be fixed. We certainly need something modified with the chassis, but to say a complete new design, I am not sure. We have some ideas to change some weight distribution around, and already Valentino has tested that at Mugello, and it is one of the areas that we are working on.
Are you going to tell us who your team-mate is?
No, I am not going to tell you because I don't know. I haven't really got caught up in it because it doesn't change that much for me. I am sure I will find out a little before you guys, but not much. I thought you were going to tell me, Henny?
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