Hayden says new Fireblade's test pace not representative
Nicky Hayden says Honda has made good progress with its all-new Fireblade during this week's Jerez World Superbike test, but admitted his best time was not a fair representation of the bike's pace.
The Honda Ten Kate squad was able to try out the 2017 Fireblade for the first time at Jerez on Tuesday and Wednesday, as both Hayden and new teammate Stefan Bradl got to grips with the new machine.
After a relatively muted first day, when Hayden finished 1.7 seconds behind pacesetter and reigning champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki), the 2006 MotoGP champion ended the second day in sixth, seven tenths slower than Rea.
But Hayden cautioned that his use of a qualifying tyre made him look somewhat closer to the ultimate pace than he is in reality.
"The team has done a great job to put the bike together and bring it here, despite the short time they had available to prepare them," said Hayden.
"We used [Tuesday] almost exclusively as a shakedown day, and in the afternoon we were able to make some decent runs, while [on Wednesday] we tried to work more on the bike performance, just to get the bike in the right window, and a bit of a direction.
"We’ve made a couple of steps, but it’s obvious we’re still behind our competitors at the moment. There’s still a lot of work to do and time to make up; when we used the qualifying tyre the time we set made us look closer than we actually are."
Bradl, who makes his World Superbike debut this year after losing his Aprilia MotoGP ride, was ninth fastest on Wednesday, three tenths behind Hayden.
"We still have to do some work on corner exit in order to find some more grip – and speed – out of turns," the German said of the new Honda.
"Obviously, we didn’t have enough time to react massively on the bike, we are just making small steps to try and get a first understanding of the new Fireblade. Despite some expected teething issues, it wasn’t too bad."
Testing continues for Honda this weekend at Portimao, ahead of the first round of the series at Phillip Island on 24-26 February.
Aprilia launches 2017 World Superbike contender
Hayden endures "frustrating" second test on new Fireblade