US MotoGP: Roger Lee Hayden content with Honda debut

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Roger Lee Hayden declared himself satisfied with his Honda MotoGP debut today after he ended in 17th position at the end of the first practice session at Laguna Seca.

The youngest brother of 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden, Roger Lee clocked a best time of 1.25.432 to finish 0.401s behind Alvaro Bautista’s factory Suzuki GSV-R.

Hayden, who is deputising for injured Frenchman Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda RC212V machine, said: “It was quite an adjustment for me. It took a little while to get used to the tyres because it took so long before they came. And trying to build confidence in them took me a little longer than I would have liked.

"It’s only a one-hour session on a GP bike and I was only 0.4 off and I don’t think is really too bad for a start. We’re not here to try to win the race, so I just kind of took my time, worked on a few things and then tonight we can look at the data.

"With Randy he uses a lot more front brake than I do going into the corner, so I was having trouble getting in because it didn’t have enough weight on the front, so tomorrow we’ll try to put a little more weight on the front and try to get into the corner better.

"Right now I don’t get in the corner and then it just messes up the exit and everything. But I had fun, I enjoyed it and just glad to be able to see some people in front of me and have something to shoot for now.

Hayden, who has been released by his Pedercini Kawasaki World Superbike squad for the Laguna Seca clash, said he was amazed at the adjustments that can be made with electronics and he added:

“The bike’s been really good and the team, they can change a lot with the data like with the wheelie and less spin in every single corner. If we had more time to work with what I like, I think we could make a lot of improvements quick, but it’s just amazing the stuff that they can do with electronics now.”

Hayden has previous MotoGP experience at Laguna Seca having finished tenth on his premier class debut in 2008 riding a factory Kawasaki ZX-RR,

He had still sought advice from his older brother Nicky and added: “He just said give the tyres some time to come in here because you saw last year a lot of guys got caught out.

"Also he said if you slow down for a lap and try to get a tow, if you slow down too much be careful because it’ll catch you back out. If you slow down for a lap to try and get behind somebody and drop the hammer straight away, you’re liable to get caught out. So just a few things like that, because I don’t really want a silly crash because of the cold tyres.


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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt