MotoGP Sepang test: Nicky Hayden crashes unhurt in Sepang

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Former world champion Nicky Hayden had a nightmare start to the Sepang test session today when he crashed his 2007 factory Honda after just four laps.

  • Click here to read why Dani Pedrosa is not in Sepang

The American lost the front end of his RC212V in the braking zone for turn one, which was the same corner which saw compatriot John Hopkins and double World Superbike champion James Toseland crash out.

Nicky Hayden severely damaged his V4 machine but walked away with only small abrasions on his right fingers, as he was the victim of heavy overnight rain.

The showers had made the track slippery, and a new surface only added to the problems.

Riders at last month’s Malaysian MotoGP blasted the new surface, with the dark tarmac making it hard for riders to pick out damp patches.

That was the reason why Nicky Hayden crashed out so early, and he told MCN: “It wasn’t exactly the way you want to start the day. I was only on my fourth lap and going into turn one and it was kind of strange.

“I just got in there and lost the front really easily. It’s not real cool to start the day with a crash, and I felt like a bit of a moron to the team.

“I know it’s everybody’s favourite excuse to say there must have been something on the track but it did seem pretty strange three guys crashing on the first morning in the same place.

“I just tipped in and was about to get off the brakes and I was down. This track is notorious for moisture coming up and when we went out it was so bright it’s hard sometimes to see the moisture with the sun beating down on it.

“My crash was not real big but it tore the bike up a little bit in the gravel.”

Nicky Hayden didn’t ride the new 2008 Honda RC212V as rain disrupted the last three hours of the test, when he planned to ride the new bike for the second time after a troublesome debut in Valencia last week.

In the dry, he clocked a best time of 2.04.316, which was only faster than rookies Jorge Lorenzo and James Toseland. He also completed 19 laps in the wet.

His fastest time was a second off his best lap in last month’s Sepang MotoGP, and he added: “The 2008 engine is still not quite ready. It’s exactly the same bike I had in Valencia, which had some problems with the engine.

“I was about to go out and it started raining. I was mainly checking some front tyres and only rode the ’07 bike and also comparing the engine from lean to rich, trying to see why at the end of the year my fuel consumption was so bad.

“They wanted to try some mappings and they’ve got some data to go back and look at. I can’t say it was the most productive day we’ve ever had and it was a bummer about the weather.”

Nicky Hayden confirmed he was given the option to miss the three-day session, with Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa not testing until engine improvements turn up on the new bike.

Dani Pedrosa stayed in Europe with Honda unable to make power delivery and horsepower improvements in time for Sepang.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt