Former world champion Nicky Hayden is hoping Honda engineers have not made radical changes to his factory Honda RC212V machine for 2008, even though he believes the current bike is only at 80 per cent of its potential.
Nicky Hayden will get his first chance to test the new factory machine next Tuesday afternoon in Valencia, but said it was crucial Honda didn’t fall into the same trap as 2007.
While most factories tweaked their old 990cc machines, Honda adopted a radically different approach for the first 800cc campaign.
Nicky Hayden told MCN: “Last year in some ways they were too aggressive. Some of the other teams didn’t make too many changes when we went to 800 while Honda completely changed.
“That’s something we have talked about for next year’s bike. Do we want to start completely over again?
“Now our bike is a lot closer so we don’t want to start completely over again. I don’t think we need to get too carried away and start from zero again.”
Nicky Hayden has scored just three podium finishes in a nightmare defence of his crown, but he said the improvements to the RC212V in the second half of the season had given him heart for a better 2008.
“Since Brno nothing has really changed but in Barcelona we got a few things in the ballpark where the settings actually made a difference. Earlier in the year we’d make changes that didn’t really affect anything.
“I would say we are probably 80 per cent and we still need a little bit on the engine and chassis,” said Hayden.
Asked what areas of improvement he had specifically requested the engineers resolve for next season he added: “I can’t say its one area. Our electronics need to be improved and our clutch certainly needs to be improved for corner entry and braking stability.
“We also need to look at the engine. With the 800s a lot of it is down to the engine. On the 990 when they brought too much power it was always hard to ride.
“On the 800 I’ve not tried anything yet and thought that made it hard to ride or there’s too much power. I think now we are not using much electronics.
“Bring us the power and if we can’t handle it then we’ll go back to using more electronics. I guess they are talking about getting away from all the mass centralisation too with everything being so small and so tight. Kind of opening back it up.
“It should be better, the bike is hard to work on and runs so hot with all the pipes inside but I haven’t asked a lot of questions. I’m confident they will throw out a good weapon.
“Like I said I’ll sleep in the street if they come out two years in a row with a bike that’s not really on the game, so I’m quite excited to see they come up with next week.”