The performance of the new Open class RCV1000R has clearly been below Hayden’s expectations, but the American came close to claiming a top two place in Qualifying 1, which would have sent him to the Q2 pole position shootout.
“I missed Q2 by one position but I knew that it was going to be extremely tough to get in there,” said Hayden. “I knew as well that if I got in there I’m not sure how much I could have improved. Maybe with a tow. I did my time completely on my own, so maybe with a draft I could improve. We’re losing a lot in T4, especially coming out the last corner. That’s the first qualifying session out of the way though so we’ll see what happens.”
One of the biggest handicaps of the Open Honda has been a consistent lack of top speed in comparison to their rivals. And with no development having been planned, Honda are now in the process of beginning a development cycle.
“The bike is completely the same that we started [testing] with in Sepang 1 and there wasn’t really any plans for the bike to have any upgrades. Now though we know that the potential of this bike isn’t maybe as high as we can hope, but I’m just concentrating on riding the bike and not complaining about it. The team is doing a good job and we’re finding some improvements with set-up so hopefully some tracks down the road will suit us better.”
Having qualified ahead of Colin Edwards, on the Open Yamaha, and the rest of the Open Honda riders, Hayden dismissed the notion that he was pleased to be the second fastest Open entry – after Aleix Espargaro – and that his focus is on the 22 lap race:
“I’ve been asked about the other riders but I’m not getting caught up thinking about that. I’m not getting caught up in any of that and the race is tomorrow so we’ll see if I can get away and maybe steal a top ten.”