Photography by Gold & Goose
Although it was a day later than originally expected, Nicky Hayden finally got a crack at his new steed – the Aspar Team’s Honda RCV1000R – today at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain. We’ve already heard what Honda’s test rider Casey Stoner had to say about the production bike, but with Hayden’s combined experience at Repsol Honda and the factory Ducati, the big question was to hear what he’d have to say about it. Unfortunately, mums the word as Hayden is not able to talk about the new Honda until his Ducati contract is up.
After putting in some 76 laps on his new machine, Hayden ended the day 13th with a 1.32.576 – two seconds off of the fastest lap set by Marc Marquez on the factory Honda.
He was, however, within reach of his replacement at Ducati, Cal Crutchlow – about half a second off the factory Ducati.
Although we weren’t able to speak to Hayden about his new Honda, he was allowed to talk about the experience with his new team.
“It was exciting to get to work with a new team and a new bike,” said Hayden in a team issued press release. “This is a new project and there is a long road ahead, but that’s what makes it so interesting. I really enjoyed my first contact with the bike. There is a lot to learn and I need to build a relationship with the mechanics, but I am really happy with today for a first shakedown. The team has helped me a lot and I had a lot of engineers around me all day. We can see how much work there is to do, but the base is solid. We couldn’t have had better conditions to ride in today. It would have been nice to finish with some stronger lap times, but overall we’re happy.”