When Roger Lee Hayden got the call asking him if he was interested in taking over for Randy de Puniet in this weekend’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, he was a bit groggy. Since he’d Tivo’d the German MotoGP and hadn’t watched it yet, Hayden didn’t know about the injury to de Puniet, though he did have a text from his brother, Nicky.”Kevin [Schwantz] called and said, ‘How would you like to throw your leg over a GP bike?’ I was trying to figure out what in the world he was talking about because I just woke up. And then the owner of the team called me and asked if I had any interest. I was like, ‘Sure.’ I knew I had to get the okay from my World Superbike team and wanted to make sure American Honda was okay with it because they are putting so much effort into this Moto2 deal and I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to rub anybody the wrong way. They were totally cool about it and probably it being on a Honda helps the connection there too. It came together so fast. It was kind of weird for me.”So Hayden will ride the bike at Laguna this week, hoping to improve upon the 10th-place finish he earned in 2007 while riding a Kawasaki as a wild card entry.Turns out, Hayden has been a busy man in the break from World Superbike action. Last week, the youngest of the Hayden brothers threw his leg over the American Honda Moto2 entry for the first time when the Erion team tested for two days at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in Desert Center, California.”I thought the test went pretty good,” Hayden said. “It was a nice little shakedown on the bike. The temperature was pretty hot where we were – about 117. So in the afternoons we didn’t get a whole lot done. We got a few little gremlins out of the bike and we got to work on setup. Everything went really, really smooth, actually. The Erion guys were great. We didn’t have as many problems as you would expect for a brand new bike – one that they’ve never worked on before. I was really happy with it and I think they were too. The biggest thing for me is the engines are kind of slow. I guess it would compare to a Supersport bike, but I think maybe the engines are a bit slow so they are really reliable. The handling is pretty good. We’ve never used the KYB forks before, but we didn’t have any big chatter problems or anything. We had to work on the front end a bit for me to kind of finish the corner. The bike is definitely a lot smaller than the Kawi Superbike.”Hayden will get more testing done on the Moto2 bike prior to the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at the end of August.
Roger Lee To Ride U.S. GP: Updated!
Paul Carruthers | Editor
Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.