Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nicky Hayden on the Ducati GP9: “This thing can be a monster!”


Nicky Hayden, testing the Ducati GP9 at Valencia

2006 MotoGP world champ, Nicky Hayden recently tested the Ducati GP9, which he’s going to be racing in 2009. The American, who hasn’t done very well since the switch from 990cc to 800cc machines last year, had a somewhat acrimonious parting with Honda, but hopes to make a strong comeback with Ducati next year.

‘It has been a very intense day and full of many things to test and to understand, but it was exactly as I expected it to be,’ said Hayden, after riding the Ducati GP9 for the first time in Valencia. ‘One of the things that really impressed me the most was the acceleration. I found myself pretty comfortable on the bike, and I really didn't make a lot of changes to levers and handlebars,’ he added.

‘We have not even changed a lot the settings. We just made some small changes – some mapping settings, a couple of tyres – in order to try and understand the direction of the bike and to feel comfortable on it,’ said Hayden. And for those who think it’s Ducati electronics that won the 2007 MotoGP world championship for Stoner, Hayden says, ‘I don't know what they pay Casey but it's not enough. They need to double it, because this thing can be a monster!’

‘It was about what I expected. I didn't think it would be easy and I also didn't think it was going to be a disaster. I can see the potential of the bike, but it's also going to take a lot to get it out of it too. I knew that I wasn't just going to twist the throttle and go fast,’ concluded Hayden.

Despite the fact that Hayden won a MotoGP world championship for them in 2006, Honda chose to direct their development work around Dani Pedrosa in 2007 and 2008. That doesn’t seem to have paid the kind of dividends Honda may have expected, and Hayden, on the other hand, seems to have gotten a raw deal from HRC. We hope the Kentucky Kid makes a strong comeback with Ducati next year, and socks it to Honda. Go, Nicky…!

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