Hayden: GP12 'evo' more mine than Rossi's
Following his podium finish at Aragon in 2010 (his second and last dry weather podium on the Ducati), Nicky Hayden is looking to repeat that performance with the GP12 'evo', which he will race for the first time this weekend.
"Another 10 days have passed since Misano, and although I'm probably still not at 100% strength, I'm definitely better than I was then - the Kentucky Kid revealed - This track is a little easier physically than Misano, where there are several hard braking zones. Here there are a lot of elevation changes, and often you are braking somewhat softly while the bike is leaned over."
How was your test of the updated GP12 at Misano?
"I made two runs at Misano, of 5-6 laps each, but it was enough to get a first impression of the chassis and to immediately feel the improvements under braking and corner entry. This will also be an important outing for Valentino. Things went well for him at Misano, but he tested for two days before the race, and then it rained for the first day and a half of the GP, which was certainly an advantage for him. We need to understand how much of his result was based on the new chassis, and how much came from the testing advantage. Our competitors tested here at Aragon three weeks ago, in similar weather conditions, so this time they will have the advantage."
Which parts will be available to you next weekend?
"I'll start with the second step of the chassis, and I hope that goes well. Right now only one of my bikes has the updates, but we have enough parts to put them on the second bike as well, if necessary. I still don't have the new swingarm available to me, which seems to be another step forward."
Do you think you can go faster immediately with the new bike? You don't have much experience with it...
"Yes, but this chassis was designed more from my feedback than Valentino's. From that point of view, it's a good thing that Rossi is leaving at the end of the season, because now the chassis can be based on the geometry that I prefer. Preziosi told me that the new version should be better suited to my set-up than to his."
Translation by Sean Sedacca