NICKY HAYDEN READY FOR FIRST OF TWO HOME RACES
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider looking forward to local support in Austin as Hiroshi Aoyama aims to build on progressive start to season at Losail
After kicking off at Losail (5.380km) the MotoGP World Championship continues this weekend at another circuit measuring over five kilometres as the Circuit of the Americas (5.513km) in Texas hosts the second round of the season. With the longest straight on the calendar (1.2km) and a technical combination of fast and slow corners, COTA represents another major challenge for the teams and riders, although nothing presents a sterner test at the moment than stopping Marc Márquez, not only the defending World Champion and new championship leader following his victory in Qatar but also the winner of the inaugural race here last season.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team made a solid start to the campaign with solid points finishes for both riders. Nicky Hayden took eighth place after constantly improving his pace all weekend and he is now looking forward to building on that progress in the first of two races on American soil, with this round to be followed by the Indianapolis GP later in the year. His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama finished eleventh in Qatar after overcoming a series of technical setbacks during practice but he is confident his crew have found the right way forward at just the right time.
Nicky Hayden: “A home Grand Prix is always something very special and I really look forward to getting there, seeing all the fans that support me so much and getting back on track. Austin is really a great track, it is a very state of the art facility - safe, long, and wide but honestly last year there I didn't get on with it great and was never able to be fast, especially in the first half of the track. That's got to change this year and even though I know the acceleration off those slow corners won't be kind to us all the changes of direction should suit me and this bike well. So let's hope we can get a result to make the home crowd proud!”
Hiroshi Aoyama: “The result at the first race of the season was pretty positive. Even though we had a few problems with the bike at the start of the weekend we found the right way forward. This is only the second time any of us have been to COTA so that should level things out a little amongst the riders. I think the final part of the track, with its flowing corners, should suit our bike and the chassis should allow us to feel comfortable through the tight turns. Sunday night in Qatar was a boost for us and the objective is to keep this going and to continue improving the bike. I think we can take another step forward in Austin. It is a demanding circuit from a physical perspective so I put some extra training in last week and even had a medical so I definitely feel ready.”