"It may seem madness, by my aim is to win the title. I will not take this chance lightly"
After a tough year wearing No. 1, Nicky Hayden is ready to fight again for the title in the top category.
The American rider is the one who has done the most laps this 2008 pre-season in order to lift the Repsol Honda Team to the highest ranks in MotoGP.
Nicky Hayden is not one to back down when faced with difficulties, and after constant work, is looking forward to the first event: the official MotoGP tests, already labelled by experts as the "Grand Prix Zero".
Here is talks from the launch of the 2008 Repsol Honda MotoGP motorcycle.
What are your feelings about the 2008 bike/tyres setup? What are the most prominent features of the new bike?
"I think that the big advantage of the new bike is the additional revs of the engine. On circuit, the extra speed is great, though for the time being the bike's too sluggish, so the HRC engine specialists still have work to do before the start of the new season.
“More speed doesn't always necessarily mean better lap times, but during a race it's a great advantage when overtaking other riders. Everyone is working hard and Honda is looking forward to winning the title again.
“Running the first race of the year during the night is going to be fantastic for the riders, the fans, and everyone else involved. I'm looking forward to the big day."
Can you tell us about your first training sessions in 2008? How is work on the new engine going?
"I like what I've seen until now and we are working on development of the engine. I hope that when the time comes to take places on the grid at the Qatar GP everything is ready.
“I'm looking forward to seeing what Honda has done for us."
You are working on development of the pneumatic-valve engine: do you think it will be ready for the first race?
"I'm not sure that it will be perfect for the first race, but I think Honda will supply us with a competitive machine that will be ready.
“Qatar has a very long straight and you need a good engine, with a lot of horsepower."
Do you think Michelin has taken a step forward in comparison to last year?
"Yes, Michelin has progressed a lot. What's more, the wet tyres I used in Phillip Island were incredible, though we won't know the truth until the first race.
MotoGP was never easy, but I trust in Michelin."
Do you feel under less pressure this year? How do you plan to face this season?
"I feel the same as regards to pressure, because this year I want to give it my best and make my team and fans proud.
“It's not an easy game, but we have a great team and a great bike. It's an honour to be in the Repsol Honda Team and I won't take this chance lightly.
“My intention is to improve this year, and I'm going to make it happen."
What are your expectations for this 2008 season?
"My aim this year is simple: to win the title. I know that after the last season it may seem madness, but I think that when you achieve something once, you can do it again.
“We'll soon find out; it's not long before the season starts. I can't wait."