MOTOGP News : Hayden: We're running out of time...
Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden has expressed his concerns about trying to rein in reigning champions Yamaha and Valentino Rossi at the start of the new MotoGP season, as the team struggles to get enough track time to fettle its 2006 RC211V.
Speaking in a rare break between pre-season test sessions, the American - who took victory in his home grand prix last season - admitted that he and the Repsol team are facing a tough challenge to evolve the latest RC211V into a Rossi-beater. Since his arrival in the world championship in 2003, Hayden has shared a garage with Rossi, Alex Barros and Max Biaggi, all of whom took charge of showing HRC the best route to follow in terms of development. Now, however, team-mate Dani Pedrosa is the newcomer, leaving Hayden to set the direction.
"It's motivating to see so many people working for me, all together with the same aim," the American admitted, "but I'm not very happy. I expected to be faster and to have things under control, but it hasn't been as I wanted."
Hayden admitted that rain at last week's Sepang test had not helped the team's cause, and that it was getting frustrating to still be setting faster times on last year's bike.
"The weather wasn't of much help," he sighed, "I know that it's been the same for all of us, but it seemed as if, every time I wanted to get onto the track to compare data, the rain decided to fall. It's been a bit frustrating because we left many questions unanswered.
"We've had three hard days testing the different bikes and, with so much material to be tested, you end up a little confused. The new bike has great potential but, as soon as I get on the other one, I look at the clock and the times come out easier.
"Still, I've been lapping for two days on the new bike and we've made good progress. It's been the first time I had the chance to spend some time testing the chassis and the engine, and I've been faster than last time, so that's positive. It is still a prototype and we have a lot of things to test yet, because it's quite different than my other bike. It would have been good to have more time to test both bikes alternately, but the changing weather conditions and the rain ruined any attempt."
Hayden admits that the forthcoming tests in Europe will be key to how he and team-mate Pedrosa open the season, but says that he continues to have faith in the Honda technicians.
"We can not wait any longer and, at the last meeting we had in Sepang, we already took important decisions after the third test day," he admitted, "The next two tests in Barcelona and Jerez will be very important. They are usually quite amusing due to the atmosphere there, but we'll keep on working on what we have learned from Sepang.
"Times start to count there, because there won't be much time left before the Spanish Grand Prix. The only thing we can do is to keep on working hard and use those two tests left the best way we can.
"We're not in the best position because we're running out of time, but there are many people working to make everything work out and I'm convinced that we're going to make it. Working with HRC and the potential they have is always a guarantee to find solutions."