Nicky Hayden has called his switch to World Superbike with Honda a 'fun' challenge after enjoying his first day getting to grips with the CBR1000RR during winter testing at Aragon.
After over a decade in MotoGP, the 2006 world champion has moved to the Ten Kate Racing Honda squad for next season and will team-mate Dutch youngster Michael van der Mark. The American made his first track outing on the Honda World Superbike machine on Monday (16 November) in his opening winter test alongside fellow the WSBK squads of Kawasaki and Yamaha.
Hayden says he has plenty of things to get used to in what will be his rookie World Superbike campaign, but is confident he has already discovered a positive feel with the bike and is relishing the challenge ahead of him.
“My first time on the Honda CBR1000RR, I have a lot of work to do to adjust to different things,” Hayden said. “The first day went very quick. We started the job and we've seen where we need to improve more and we'll keep going. It is still pretty early days.
“It my first time racing a production bike and it is a different motorcycle but truthfully it is still a motorcycle. The forks, suspension, tyres, brakes and engine are different but I've got to remember not to come crazy. It is a bike and we have to ride it. I was able to get close to feeling the limit and the faster you go the more fun it is.”
Assessing the task of switching from MotoGP to the World Superbike arena, Hayden is upbeat for the test and says as long as he and the Ten Kate Honda squad can create a solid working relationship and he can find the speed to fight towards the front he will revel in his rookie WSBK campaign.
“I'm looking forward to some of the changes, change is fun,” Hayden explained. “I'm going to some new tracks for the first time and some new countries to race.
“New is not always bad, it is exciting and motivating. It is a new chapter to my career but like I said it is a similar approach so I want to try to enjoy it, that is always nice, and if I'm fast enough I'm sure it'll be fun. I need to fit in with the team and learn to work with everybody and how to get what I feel with the bike across to them so they can help me so we can battle on track at the front.”
Hayden also feels it is too early to set a target for the 2016 season after a single day of testing and says there is still lots to learn over a very short period of time.
“I don't have a set number yet but for sure I want to be as competitive as possible,” he said. “We know these days are going to go fast. Luckily we were here at Aragon, a track I already knew, so I could get straight to work on the bike and not have to learn a new track so that was convenient.”