Champ relishes PI test

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Factory Honda rider Nicky Hayden is looking forward to this week’s Phillip Island test session to kick start the defence of his MotoGP world crown.

Horsepower and electronic issues have hampered the Kentucky riders winter testing schedule so far, but he’s hoping that a trip Down Under will revitalise Honda’s challenge in the first 800cc world championship campaign.

“I was about a second off in Sepang and it’s not a lot, but we got to get to work at Phillip Island and it will be good to test at a completely different track. 

“I will have two bikes the same at Phillip Island. In Malaysia I had an old prototype and then a new chassis.  We got to go there to confirm a lot of things we found in Sepang with two bikes the same and make sure we’re not smoking crack.”

Hayden will continue to put in development miles on Michelin’s new 16-inch front tyre in Australia too and he added: “I like the new front.  I didn’t go much faster with it and it wasn’t a big improvement for me but I liked it in Sepang. 

“It was better feel on corner entry and turning, and just more feel in general but I can’t say I went any faster with it. 

“We’ll see at Phillip Island because it’s a different track and as long as it changes direction there in the Esses I would say it’s the way to go.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt