Nicky Hayden has joined Valentino Rossi in backing factory Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa to pose a massive threat in 2007.
The American’s will be bidding to make a successful defence on his MotoGP world championship crown but fears his team-mate will pose an even bigger threat than in 2006.
Hayden said: “He was fast out of the gate. He’s going to be strong because he was pretty quick on the 990.
Last week Italian Rossi tipped Pedrosa to mount a serious title tilt next season after he was edged out by Pedrosa in the final winter test of the year in Jerez.
Those sentiments have now been echoed by Hayden, who believes the switch to smaller capacity 800cc machines for 2007 will see Pedrosa provide formidable opposition.
Hayden added: “I’m sure his size will help him and Dani’s going go get along with it better because it’s more like a 250s, and I know I’m probably going to need to drop a few more kilos.
“The bike is quite small and just to suit it probably wouldn’t hurt but I’m sure he’s going to be tough to beat.”
Read more in the latest edition of MCN, out Wednesday, December 13, 2006.