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Sep 28, 2016

Circuit De Nevers Magny-Cours Is Unfamiliar Territory For Nicky Hayden

Nicky Hayden (69).

Hayden and van der Mark hope for a happy hunting ground in France

Round 11 – France

Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours, France

The Honda WorldSBK Team has arrived at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in central France, where this weekend the eleventh round of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship takes place. Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden enter the third-last event of the season fourth and fifth in the championship standings, respectively.

The track, located 260km south of France’s capital city Paris, made its WorldSBK debut back in 1991 only to make its return twelve years later. Since 2003, the track has been a permanent fixture on the championship calendar.

Magny-Cours is the last WorldSBK track of the year where Nicky Hayden has yet to race. Last time out in Germany, the 35-year-old American collected his fourth podium of the season courtesy of a third place finish at the Lausitzring in race one. Hayden will need to work against the clock with his crew in order to learn the track and find a good set-up for his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP – while trying to qualify directly into Saturday’s Superpole 2.

Michael van der Mark has fond memories of Magny-Cours: in 2012, the young Dutch rider came out on top after a fierce battle for the STK600 race win – and title – against Riccardo Russo, who tried everything he could to make sure his opponent did not get the better of him. And last year, van der Mark racked up a brace of fourth places in the two French races.

Nicky Hayden 69

I’m back to WorldSBK after my one-off ride in MotoGP. Having now raced at Aragon in both WorldSBK and MotoGP this year, I can honestly say that the difference between the two – in terms of lap-times – is not that big at all. Dipping back into MotoGP was definitely an interesting experience, but now it’s time to focus fully on my Championship. I’m looking forward to racing at Magny-Cours and to pick up where we left off at the Lausitzring in the dry, where I had really good pace and consistency. If it’s wet – which the team told me quite regularly happens happens here – it’s clear we have to revaluate the setup and maybe try something different. It’s going to be another learning experience – this being a new track for me – but I’ll do my best as usual.

Michael van der Mark 60

After a difficult weekend I'm looking forward to Magny-Cours. I always like to ride here and I have had some good results in the past, including a double fourth place last year as a rookie in World Superbike. Hopefully we can get back on the podium this weekend, and I feel this could be a good place to do it. Of course, the most important thing is to make sure we can keep fourth place in the championship, though. There are only three rounds left and six individual races, so each result will be crucial for our final position in the standings. I will try as hard as I can, and I'm sure the Fireblade will work really well on this track.

Pieter Breddels

Technical Manager

After his MotoGP race at Aragon, Nicky is back with us and hopefully he’ll have a smooth transition back to the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP. At Lausitzring he showed great speed in the dry and I’m confident he’ll be able to do the same at Magny-Cours, despite having never raced here. Germany was not too kind to Michael, even though he was quite competitive in practice. If race two had been dry, I’m sure he would have been up there battling for the podium and I see no reason why he cannot do it here. We are only making small updates to the bike race to race now, and we’re happy with the package we have.

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