Hayden Eighth on Day One

Henny Ray Abrams | July 11, 2008

HOHENSTEIN-ERNSTTHAL, GERMANY, JULY 11: Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden wasn’t too concerned about finishing eighth after the first day of practice for Sunday’s Alice Grand Prix of Germany at the Sachsenring. The predominantly left-handed track brings out the best in the former dirt tracker and he’s done well here, but often not on the first day. So he felt there was more to come. “In the past I’ve gone well here; the last couple of races have gone good,” he said. “I expected and certainly would have hoped to have been higher throughout both sessions and a little bit better pace. But we have tried a few things that I have liked that have improved the bike. Also tires a little bit that I like. A couple of runs this afternoon put on some tires that I didn’t like. “ I’m quite optimistic actually, I think. In the past here, also, when I’ve had some decent results, I’ve never really been fast on Friday, so hopefully tomorrow we can improve. So I’m not thrilled with myself today or the package, but actually I think we can be better tomorrow for sure.” A number of Hayden’s fellow Michelin riders-Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso-all crashed on the front end. Hayden said the front tire he liked the best is the one he had the least quantity of, “so I’m going to have to not get to use it a whole lot tomorrow. So it was strange why some of the Michelin riders all crashed on the front.” Hayden did have a few grip problems with one front tire, but “rear grip on the exit was OK, certainly the entry grip is where we’re trying to make it better. Rear grip is OK as far as the exit and lap time-wise the track is quite good. I’m faster than I qualified last year.” But not because of his top speed. Hayden found himself well down the speed charts; 10 kph/6.2 mph to the Ducati Marlboro Desmosedici of Casey Stoner. And nearly as much to his teammate Dani Pedrosa. Why that was, he wasn’t sure. “And the farthest I’ve been down since I switched to the new engine. So definitely need to see what’s going on. If it’s basically the same thing or something’s different. They say it should be the same.” One worry he shouldn’t have is fuel mileage. The tight, twisty, and short track doesn’t lend itself to wide open racing. Hayden said as a percentage of the lap, he’s at full throttle less often that at most any other track.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.