World Champion Nicky Hayden and team mate Dani Pedrosa had their first contact with the Honda RC212V machine at the Ricardo Tormo circuit today.
Only two days after the Valencia circuit became the venue of Nicky Hayden's proclamation as 2006 MotoGP World Champion, the Repsol Honda Team started today the preparations for the new 2007 season. With the arrival of the new 800cc machines, the winter looks long and filled with work in order to evolve the new Honda RC212V. After the about thirty laps covered by Dani Pedrosa in Motegi the day after the Japanese Grand Prix, today was the debut day for the North American Repsol Honda Team rider, who had his first contact with the RC212V machine.
Sharing the garage with the "old" RC211V machines, Nicky and Dani had only one new bike each in the Repsol Honda Team garage, to cover the first kilometres on the Valencia track. Hayden made a total of 87 laps while team mate Pedrosa made 73. Both riders highlighted the driveability of the pack and defined this first contact with the new bike as very positive.
The Repsol Honda Team riders were joined on this first test day of the 2007 preseason by Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner -already on a Ducati machine-, Loris Capirossi, Toni Elias and Marco Melandri, and some riders of the 250cc class.
The weather was good too at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, with milder temperatures than on the Grand Prix days - which were rather high for this time of the year-. Clouds came up in the afternoon, however, and the forecasts have predicted rain for a large part of tomorrow.
Nicky Hayden, 1m 33.66s. 87 laps, 348 Km: "I enjoyed riding the new bike today and I'm quite excited because it's got some pretty trick parts and it looks really cool. I got down into the 1m 33s lap-times pretty easily this morning which is a good sign. The new bike feels like it's got a lot more traction - especially under acceleration. The power delivery feels a lot smoother, and when you first open the throttle you don't need to get the bike picked up as much as you did with the 990. It feels a lot lighter but actually the weight is not much different. The bike definitely feels quite small and has a different feeling that I'll have to get used to. We're already going around the corners faster than the 990cc bike and it's going to require a different style of riding and be a different breed of bike. It does have high corner entry and corner speed and I'll have to adapt a few things with my style. Sunday almost feels old now and I know we've made Valentino mad by taking his title, so I'm looking forward to taking him on next season. I want to come back next year and win again on this bike. To win one title is great but to take two of them takes you into another elite group - so I'm still hungry."
Dani Pedrosa, 1m33.21. 73 laps, 292 Km: "The feelings now that we are in a European circuit, are more or less the same as in Japan. We have tested many more hours today, so that's been good. I've been improving bit by bit. We've made general tests to start looking for the settings and to get closer to what we had done during the Grand Prix. There are some differences compared to the RC211V machine. This bike is obviously totally different to the previous one, but in the end it's also a motorbike, so the way to work with it is the same. We still have to look for the right way to ride it because we're still used to the other bike; however, it will come out automatically as we continue lapping. As regards the tyres, we've been using the same ones we used during the Grand Prix weekend, we are not yet using specific tyres for these bikes."