Honda’s MotoGP new boy Nicky Hayden made his RCV debut at Motegi in Japan yesterday.
The 21-year-old American completed just 50 laps of the Twin Ring circuit on the 220bhp V5 – a world away from the SP-2 he rode to the AMA Superbike title earlier this year. He was almost caught out by the carbon discs of the RCV, which take far longer to reach operating temperature than the steel ones he’s used to.
Hayden said: " I am impressed how fast it is, the acceleration is so hard, but the power is still real smooth.
" It’s like wheelieing everywhere. In the morning it was a little bit difficult, as the machine, tyres, carbon discs, the track, everything was new, the track was half-wet, and I haven’t been riding since the final round of AMA Superbike in August.
" When I hit the brakes for the first time, I was kind of surprised how it doesn’t work when it's cold! " .