Hayden and Rossi: 990s forgotten

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Defending MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden reckons he’s not looking over his shoulder anymore and wishing he could still ride Honda’s brutal RCV 990cc machine in MotoGP.

The switch to the new generation 800cc machines took away some of the advantage the Kentucky Kid had last season.

This was because a more 250-influenced riding style needed on the new machines have been alien to the reigning champ.

Asked if he would like his RCV five-cylinder back instead of the new RC212V 800 he’s been slowly getting accustomed to he said: “Not really.

“I’m not into talking about that. I was getting to where I liked riding this better than the 990. In time I’ve really started to enjoy riding when it feels right because you can ride it harder. 

“You can ride the edge closer and sometimes the 990 in parts you just felt like you were holding on, but with this thing you just shift you’re weight around and do more things to make a bigger effect.

“In some ways its more of a riders bike.”

The man most likely to make Hayden’s reign as MotoGP world a short- lived experience agreed with the American.

Valentino Rossi said he had no interest in riding a 990 four-stroke again, having got over his initial reservations about a switch to less powerful smaller capacity machines.

The Italian said: “I liked the 990 because the feeling with the throttle in acceleration and the control of sliding was very important.

“It is a good taste when you ride the bike but with this bike I have fun because it is has more agility and the lines are more important, so I don’t want back the 990.”


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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt