13 November 2014
Valencia MotoGP Test: Hayden: First 'RS' impressions good
Nicky Hayden has noted a marked improvement in Honda's upgraded RC213V-RS but is still seeking more outright speed after concluding Valencia MotoGP test
Nicky Hayden has been encouraged by his first impressions of Honda's upgraded RC213V-RS but hopes there is still more top-end speed to come from the 2015 bike.
The American star has acknowledged a marked improvement in the speed of the new model, but is still around 18kph down on outright speed.
Hayden and Karel Abraham tried the new Honda during this week's Valencia MotoGP test, with the 2006 premier class world champion registering his best lap of 1m 32.173s as he finished 13th overall and 1.2s behind Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda.
“I got to ride it all day without any big problems, but of course it would've been nice if we had got started a little earlier and got in a full day,” said Aspar Honda rider Hayden, referring to the wet conditions that prevailed in Spain in Tuesday and then Wednesday morning.
“We made one big change that took a lot of time. We hit a few walls along the way but overall we were able to keep moving and keep progressing and I'm still working with some new guys.
“The gap to the front isn't unbelievably far but it's just that there's a few guys in there, so the position looks bad,” he added.
“I enjoyed working with the guys and I enjoyed riding this bike more; for sure the top speed is better but we hope it can still get better because we closed the gap but we're still 18kph down, so it's still a pretty big number.”
That difference was between Hayden's peak speed (321km/h) and the quickest of the day by Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa (339km/h). However Hayden was as quick as Scott Redding and only 6km/h from Cal Crutchlow, on the satellite RC213Vs.
Hayden said the overall feel of the RC213V-RS is not too dissimilar to the 2014 RCV1000R, which was used by new team-mate Eugene Laverty and Aussie Jack Miller (LCR Honda) this week.
“I'm glad we did get to test here and thanks to HRC for bringing us at least one bike. You know this bike would've been great this year but it looks already like a lot of guys have already improved!” Hayden said.
“The bike wasn't hard to adjust to, the ride position – it's very similar to the bike I had except with more power. The chassis feeling, suspension and ride position is not so different. It wants to wheelie maybe a little bit more down the straightaway but it's not an aggressive engine.
“It's just the first day with it so we'll see. I had no problem with the gearing, I used pretty much a similar ratio to my other bike and in fact with a little more RPM it helped, so we can maybe change a few gears but we didn't want to lose time changing gearboxes,” he added.
“I was a little worried after riding this production bike all year that it might feel incredible to control it but the power is pretty smooth. I have a wider power [range], so in some ways it's actually a little bit easier to control.”
Asked if the bike was better than the 990cc Honda on which Hayden clinched the 2006 world crown, he responded: “The 990 was so long ago, different tyres, no electronics; as much as I'd love to tell you yes…”
Hayden, meanwhile, will travel to San Diego for a check-up on his injured wrist, which forced him out of four rounds this season before his return at Aragon in September.
“I go to San Diego and check in with the doctor but I was pretty happy because during the season I've been doing 45 minutes and then taking a break, but today was pretty much straight through,” he said.
“I have some swelling now but I was able to do the whole day without any big problems. I'll probably do a PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) injection because we do that every couple of months and then make a plan.”
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