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Valencia MotoGP Testing Continues – Nicky Hayden Takes First Laps on New Honda

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After two days of testing at Valencia, the “usual suspects” crowded the top of the time sheets with Marc Marquez (Honda) quickest, followed by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and Dani Pedrosa (Honda) … the same order in which they finished the 2013 championship series.

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Of note, Nicky Hayden (Team Aspar) took his first laps on the Honda RCV1000R “Open” bike.  Hayden finished with the 13th quickest time after taking a total of 76 laps.  He was enthusiastic about the bike after the first day, and we will see if he can improve his competitiveness tomorrow.  It should be pointed out that Hayden’s fastest lap on the Honda today bested his fastest lap on the Ducati during Sunday’s race.

We will provide a summary after the testing at Valencia is completed.  Currently, poor weather is expected for tomorrow at the track.

38 Comments

  1. Gary says:

    I wish him well. I’m sure he’s getting a handsome salary for racing second-tier equipment in MotoGP, but in my opinion he’d be better off in WSB. Max Biaggi seems to be enjoying himself.

  2. Al says:

    Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

  3. Vrooom says:

    Given he was further off the pace on his Honda than he was on the Ducati in qualifying (he was 1.6 seconds off in qualifying), my optimism is limited. Wish Nicky the best, but 2 seconds off the pace is a long way on a single lap. May those gaps shorten.

  4. CCRider says:

    Hoping Nicky can get back to his old winning ways. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that guy. We’ve all seen him do some amazing things on two wheels.. I remember watching him race at Hagerstown in the late 90s.. I think he was 16 at the time. I became a fan that night. Guys like Lorenzo (Lorentho?) and Marquez will be tough to beat, but I have to believe that Nicky will be more competitive on the Honda than he was on the Ducati. Hell, even The Doctor gave up his national ride to get back on a Yamaha.. it might not be the rider, it very likely might be the bike.

  5. Glen says:

    Nicky’s GOT THE HEART. Now, he’s on a Honda with 5 more liters of fuel and 6 more engins to tune to a higher state. I’m not making a prediction just an observation!

  6. abanta says:

    I think it is way to early about making predictions about how Nicky may do. I’m thinking he may surprise all of us. And who ever it was that said he wouldn’t get within 2 seconds of the factory bikes, I’ll take that bet!

  7. Jim says:

    Nicky’s a good guy but the days of steering with the rear are over, he was born a couple decades too late.

  8. VLJ says:

    Question: When was the last time a satellite bike won a dry MotoGP race? The Gresini Honda with Marco Melandri, back in ’06?

    I want to say that the disparity between the factory/satellite/customer Hondas and Yamahas is even greater now than it was back then, so the odds of a non-factory rider winning even a single race in the coming years is probably next-to-nill.

  9. raivkka says:

    No way the customer Honda will ever come within 2 seconds of the factory bike.
    I’ll say it again, NO FACTORY BIKE’s, make them all customer sold.
    Give every rider of a mfg bike a similar chance of winning.

    • Jim says:

      I’ll take that bet.

      • abanta says:

        Me too!

        • Hot Dog says:

          Production racing! How mundane and controlled. I want no rules. Do we have to march along like little lemmings in everything we do? Why not unregulated prototype racing? Allow dustbin fairings, any width wheel rims, any motor configuration/size/type, anything goes. Jeez, is big brother going to make us march like good little drones as we all nod our heads in unison?

          • Tim says:

            I like your thinking Hot Dog. Let WSB and the lower MotoGP levels ride the NASCAR-like bikes. While we’re at it, let’s go back to the days where the guys got to pick thier own tires and could bring along multiple tire compounds to each race.The racing was more competitive at the front back then, or so my old man memory believes it was.

            MotoGP should be about factory bikes, exotic parts, cutting edge software…no holds barred racing. I believe as the bikes get more and more powerful, the better the racing will be. Make bikes the bikes so fast and powerful only the best riders can get the most out of them.

          • MGNorge says:

            I’ve always felt that’s what the open class should be…open! A few class rules based on displacement but allow teams their choice of tires, engine configuration, cylinder count, etc. Make it a thinking and calculating man’s sport. If in one year you get it wrong you try harder the next or make changes mid-season if need be. I cheer for the teams and manufacturers as much as the riders, maybe more?

          • Dave says:

            “Racing” does not happen in an unlimited equipment environment, only a spending contest. Every other racing organization has figured this out, even F1.

            Closer equipment results in better racing, every time. You’re asking for what you “want” without realizing that it would never last and it’d be really boring for the year or two it did.

          • kjackson says:

            As much as I hate it, I have to agree with Dave. Witness the IMSA GTP class.

          • TF says:

            Didn’t a spending contest put men on the moon?

          • mickey says:

            Only 2 contestants…wasn’t much of a race to watch

          • Dave says:

            Re:”Didn’t a spending contest put men on the moon?”

            It did. Notice how that doesn’t happen any more? ;-)

          • TF says:

            Yes, and it’s sad…..especially if you see the evolution of technology as one of the outputs of such a contest. I guess it depends on what you perceive the purpose to be. If you are looking strictly at entertainment value resulting from close competition there are plenty of other options. I always use NASCAR as an example where the cars were faster in 1970 than they are today. Thank God there are still other motor sports that can drive the technological evolution (as an example, when I was young top fuel was just cracking the 200 mph barrier).
            BTW, I found the “space race” to be wildly entertaining and I thought Neil Armstrong’s giant leap to be one of the more memorable moments of my life. I get a similar feeling when I watch an F-22 fly or when a MotoGP bike carries the front wheel three inches off the ground half way down a straight.

          • MGNorge says:

            I look back fondly of the earlier years of GP racing. Honda 4-stroke sixes against Yamaha 2-stroke fours, etc., etc. It was all out racing, heart stopping racing at times. There were of course celebrity riders to cheer on but the mechanical bits and how the different manufacturers used all they knew at the time to seek being No. 1 by most any means they could. There wasn’t a collaboration to use only one brand of tire, or limit fuel in the way it is today. You sought the best combination of frame geometry with the best that the tire manufacturers could muster. If you’re using a heavier engine than your competition you may be at an disadvantage unless your engine produces the kind of power, mixed with rider skills, that enables you to be competitive. Carry more fuel and you added weight. The trick was in balancing all these and more factors together so that on race day you did it better than the next guy. If not, you went back to the drawing board to tweak this or that hoping to regain competitiveness. To me that was exciting, to see what was brought to the table each race. If I’m in the minority these days then so be it.

        • Scott the Aussie says:

          I think Tim that Marquez, Lorenzo, and Dani ARE the best riders. Thats why they are at the front. I like the idea of prototype racing but we have to get real -would you watch a race between 2 Hondas and 2 Yamahas – no matter what bikes it was.

          I think Moto2 should have been “open” and not only that 500cc to preserve the Holy Capacity Mantra. And while I am ranting…

          What wrong with an old fella wanting to ride a 250 in Moto3??? If he’s the best there is the others have to match him and thats all there is to it!! In the good old days all of the classes were respected – Provini is no less a champ than Agostini because he won his in smaller classes.

  10. JFN says:

    Hope he can be competitive next year. Motogp is much more fun when Nicky is relevant.

  11. John says:

    And…the old ride was a full factory prototype. So far bodes well for Nicky.

  12. FrmrBueller says:

    It should be pointed out that Hayden’s fastest lap on the Honda on Tuesday was 2.040 sec off the best time of the day (set by MM) while his qualifying lap on the Ducati for Sunday’s race was 1.633 sec off pole (also set by MM).

  13. RD350 says:

    Go Nicky!

  14. drbyers says:

    Hmmm. I’ll reserve judgement. New bike. New team. New chief mechanic??

    He’s already doing better than he did on his old ride. lol

    • Bob says:

      I’ll wait to judge it too. He may have beaten his Ducati fastest lap with the Honda but I’d like to see his other lap times. Then we can see if they were better or even consistently better than the Duc.

      I think that over time, Nicky will like how the Honda is easier on tires over the course of a race and has no under-ster issues.

      I can see his lap times improving next season but unfortunately not enough to see him fighting for anything more than the 9th and 10th places behind the Yamaha and Honda factory and satellite bikes like he is now. If anything, he’ll be beating the factory Ducatis. I guess that’s something.

  15. VLJ says:

    Nicky’s glare says that tomorrow better show at least a full second of improvement just to get within shouting distance of being competitive.

    “We gotta at least be faster than the damn Ducatis….”

    • bikerrandy says:

      Seems no one here is remembering that to go as fast as possible, you first have to have the bike set up just for you. I doubt Nicky was able to do that. This isn’t even supposed to be the bike he will be racing on next year. These riders got a chance to see what the new Honda is like but they had to share it @ this 3 day test. Give Nicky a chance. This is just his 1st ride on it. I’m sure the factory bikes were set up better for most their riders for this test.