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Nicky Hayden Video Interview: Expects Honda to Come Through With a Competitive Bike

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We have talked about the new Open class in MotoGP, and the tremendous advantages it offers teams such as Yamaha and Ducati, which are essentially running factory bikes in the class. Honda built a lower-spec bike for Nicky Hayden and others, so the Honda Open class entries seem to be hopelessly uncompetitive at this point. In the following interview, Hayden discusses this and other topics ahead of the opening round at Qatar.

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51 Comments

  1. Ridenagain says:

    Why are we wasting time racing big four strokes? Why not direct injection 500cc two strokes with emmision and fuel capacity restrictions. Cheaper for everybody? And doesn’t it make sense to be racing something whose development could change the industry?

    • Mick says:

      Displacement for GP did need to go up. Chassis and tire development pushed the engines to ridiculous states of tune.

      I’d rather they just run it like the old days. Here is a displacement limit. Run what you brung. Good luck.

      Set weight minimums for the chassis alone or for chassis and rider. If they limit emissions, fuel and engine count. The series would be free to explore the best ideas. Not just the ones that this or that OEM would like.

      The spec ECU come 2016 would be a bit of an issue with the need to accommodate different engine configurations. But I’m sure that they could work that out.

  2. John says:

    They should change that logo so that it doesn’t look like “DRIVEL” at first glance.

  3. mickey says:

    Someone correct me if Im wrong but wasn’t Honda assigned the task to make an open class machine that teams could purchase, with a ceiling of $1.5 million dollars each ( vs the $5-6 million for a factory machine) that the teams would be able to work on themselves to make faster?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Someone correct me if Im wrong but wasn’t Honda assigned the task to make an open class machine that teams could purchase, with a ceiling of $1.5 million dollars each”

      well maybe “assigned” isn’t the best wording, but you are correct sir…! (Ed McMahon voice)

  4. Brian says:

    My impression was that the Honda was viewed initially as the Open bike of choice, given everything was put together, and the Yamaha was supposed to be less desirable given the teams would only be given the power plant and build around it. I don’t think Honda was expecting the amount of gifts Yamaha gave the open teams, creating a great bike. and the fact that Aleix is a great rider…
    Either way, we’ll get at least 3-4 new rules on the spot by Ezpleta during each round and the resulting black flags for breaking the rules, just to keep things “interesting”

  5. Philip says:

    Hayden looks truly excited. He seems happy to still be in MotoGP and working for Aspar.
    I think he did a great job representing his team and sponsors in this interview and is completely ready to go to work. Even with all of the ridiculous rules and constant changes to them, MotoGP is still the series that riders dream to be a part of.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “MotoGP is still the series that riders dream to be a part of.”

      one can only assume these guys haven’t been keeping up with current events.

  6. Provologna says:

    Wow, Nicky’s leather colors and the bike are gorgeous, maybe the best looking MotoGP ever (well, except for maybe Rossi’s Championship Yamahas).

  7. John says:

    I can’t really see what Honda was trying to accomplish with its “customer” bikes. Why sell a bike that is not even remotely competitive? After all, that fact will be quickly apparent and you sure won’t sell any more of them. What’s more, Honda’s reporting of Stoner’s testing rather deliberately made it appear that the bike was much better than it seems to be now and that the bike could actually be competitive on certain tracks. While Stoner is truly gifted, his talent is not responsible for the difference we see here.

    I hope that Honda is shamed into improving this bike for all those who bought it. We’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath…

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I can’t really see what Honda was trying to accomplish with its “customer” bikes. Why sell a bike that is not even remotely competitive?”

      no worries, that means you just don’t see the answer, not that there isn’t an answer. honda may simply be sizing up the other entries in the OC. since these bikes have to be paid for by the customers and not out of honda’s pocket, it’s critical they dont overshoot the performance runway. too much and they begin to step on their own satellite kit. not that its a big deal, but somebody’s gotta pay for that which defeats the whole purpose of the class.

    • joe b says:

      Maybe Honda can bribe Dorna to provide a spec factory Honda ECU, as Ducati did?

      • VLJ says:

        Wouldn’t matter, not with the boat anchor of a motor Honda has given its Open bikes. Ducati’s are full factory-spec. The ECUs have to do with making the bikes more rideable, not more powerful. Nicky’s bike is ridiculously down on power, by design.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Ducati’s are full factory-spec”

          not only are they full factory spec, they’re in the hands of…

          (wait for it)

          …the FACTORY. and this is why I staunchly oppose them being there.

          • mickey says:

            Agree with that Norm… But then Dorna has implemented the Factory 2 rule to penalize them if they do well. Quite confusing isn’t it?

          • Brian says:

            agree entirely. but then that’s the way the rules work right? Its like an etch-a-sketch book.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Quite confusing isn’t it?”

            my head’s spinning, and it’s not the Jim Beam this time. I swear.

  8. James says:

    These rules to equalize the bikes are an abomination and are pushing MotoGP into a one design joke like Moto2 or NASCAR. Bring back the 990 formula which allowed for any tire manufacturer, 2,3,4,5, and six cylinder engines, with slightly different weight penalties based on that.

    Half the excitement of MotoGP is the engineering competition among the factories. If it were up to me the rules would be better with the top class being Unlimited. Anything would be allowed as long as it was just a machine with two wheels.

    • Dave says:

      Moto2 results in close competition where the ride has to stretch it to the limit in order to win. In MotoGP, most riders know approximately where they will finish (as do the fans) before they even start. The engineering contributes nothing to the racing.

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “He specifically added that he was led to believe during contract negotiations that he would have a Honda equivalent to the Yamaha and Ducati Open class bikes: Repsol factory-spec machinery (pneumatic valves, seamless transmission, chassis, suspension, brakes), only with DORNA ECUs, larger gas tanks, more available motors per season, and increased options for tires.”

    why would he expect that unless Martinez was considering satellite kit…? Honda never said anything about offering their satellite options for less money…? in fact, what they said was they (Honda Motor Company aka BIGRED) were having trouble meeting the ridiculous $1 million dollar price cap that Ezpelata seemingly pulled from his ass.

    • VLJ says:

      He would expect that because the rules allow for it and Honda clearly promised it to him. You can be certain Honda didn’t get him to agree to sign up with them by telling him, “Look, kid, the bike we’re going to give you will be uniquely underpowered compared to the other Open-classers, never mind our own factory bikes. Oh, and no Ohlins suspension or Brembo brakes, either. You get Showa and Nissin, which we never use in MotoGp, but there ya go. It’ll be like a really sweet CBR1000RR. Bottom line, our plan is to let Yamaha and and even Ducati stomp all over our cheapo Open bikes. You cool with that?”

  10. Neil says:

    Nicky went to Ducati and where else could he have gone? Satellite teams. He likely still would have ended up in the same place just like Colin. Once the factory ride is over, what comes next? No doubt the bike will get better. Yamaha chose to run factory equipment on their open class bikes and lease them. Honda chose a different route that is not necessarily any worse in the long run. We shall see.

  11. Blackcayman says:

    It’s difficult to come to any conclusion other than he is screwed….again

  12. Duncan says:

    I actually expected they would get the pneumatic valves , just not the seamless transmission . That transmission is very expensive with short expensive service intervals. When the bike showed with spring valves I knew they were screwed.
    Now Honda is whining the Dorna spec ECU is too good (as in it is really working for the other open class bikes with better spec engines). Come on Honda, stop dragging you feet and man up with a competitive package to sell or no one will be buying it next year.
    DT

  13. stinkywheels says:

    I’m one of his biggest fans. I’m sorry he wasted his best years on an uncompetitive bike, after they designed a bike for his teammate at Honda. Now he thinks they’ll play nice after they’ve got the latest greatest most fearless jockey? I was really hoping he would’ve gone to WSB with Aprillia.

  14. Dargo says:

    can someone explain to me the difference, the meaningful difference, between: factory, open class, satellite and CRT…good gravy this is worse than F1.
    Thanks

  15. Huge fan says:

    I’m a huge fan of Nicky, going back to when he was 16 years old riding AMA Grand National flattrack bikes.. I am so hopeful that Honda will find it in themselves to put him on another world class bike, allowing him to bring home the gold. However, business being what it is, my fear is that if he beats the factory bikes (a no-no in the eyes of Honda), he’ll find himself on another ‘ok’ bike that simply won’t do the deed.

  16. Silver says:

    More Honda politics. I wonder how long it took him to remember why he left in the first place? Just go win a SBK championship Nicky!!!

  17. VLJ says:

    The key word Nicky kept using was “expected,” as in, “This is not what we expected.” He specifically added that he was led to believe during contract negotiations that he would have a Honda equivalent to the Yamaha and Ducati Open class bikes: Repsol factory-spec machinery (pneumatic valves, seamless transmission, chassis, suspension, brakes), only with DORNA ECUs, larger gas tanks, more available motors per season, and increased options for tires.

    Clearly, Honda did not inform Nicky that his bike would be hopelessly underpowered even in comparison to the satellite Yamahas, never mind the Repsol Hondas. In fact, it was obviously quite the opposite. Unless we’re to believe Nicky is lying, and I doubt anyone in the paddock would buy that, Honda simply was not honest in their dealings with the Aspar team.

    Swallow your pride and spend the money, Honda. Allocate the resources. Don’t let Yamaha and Ducati straight-up punk you this way.

    • theguy says:

      Honda’s taken a much cheaper approach to ensuring Yamaha and Ducati Open class bikes can’t win…

      They’ll be penalized if they do:
      http://www.motogp.com/en/news/2014/Factory+2+explained+by+Javier+Alonso

      This proposal, made after the deadline for Yamaha and Ducati’s Open class decision, should make it pretty clear who’s punking whom for those who hadn’t noticed last year’s rule change to let Marquez compete in MotoGP a year early.

    • Ty says:

      I don’t think anyone was under the impression Aspar would be getting pneumatic valves and certainly not the seamless tranny.

      • VLJ says:

        Why wouldn’t they expect those things? The Open rules allow for it, and Yamaha’s and Ducati’s Open classers have factory-spec motors with different ECUs. More importantly, Nicky was clearly led to believe exactly that before he signed on the dotted line.

        • Ty says:

          It would’ve required the factory software to operate that configuration is my understanding.

        • Dave says:

          Re: “Why wouldn’t they expect those things?”

          Cost. The Honda Open bike is meant for “open” sale to teams and the spec was well known as far back as when it debuted under Casey Stoner. It was the Yamaha’s high spec was a surprise and Ducati’s decision came pretty late.