Although Randy de Puniet is out due to injuries he sustained last weekend at the Sachsenring MotoGP, LCR Honda will continue to race at Laguna Seca with Roger Lee Hayden behind the bar
De Puniet underwent surgery on his broken tibia and fibula, and had a titanium rod inserted. The 29-year-old Frenchman says he will hopefully only miss Laguna, and hopes to be back for Round 10 at Brno.
So substituting for de Puniet is Roger Lee Hayden, younger brother of Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden. American Honda has a close relationship with Roger, and he has experience on a MotoGP bike at Laguna; in 2007, Roger finished 7th at Laguna while competing as a wildcard entry aboard a Kawasaki.
The World Superbike's wildcard entry this year brings the field to four Americans at Laguna: Nicky and Roger Hayden, and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders Ben Spies and Colin Edwards.
During Friday's practice session, Roger piloted the LCR Honda RC212V to a 17th place overall time (1:25.432).
Roger Lee Hayden says: "For the first 1-hour session it was not so bad and I had fun! For this first outing all I wanted to do was to get some miles on the bike. I have not used carbon brakes for a long time and some of the other aspects of the bike are quite different to what I am used to.
"As the session went on the guys made some changes to the bike to make me feel more comfortable on the machine. At the end we just run out of time but I am happy as I finished the session quite close to some of the guys in front of me. I am looking forward to getting back on the bike tomorrow to see how much faster I can go".
MotoGP riders will be back on track today for another practice session, and then qualifying at 4:55 p.m. The qualifying session will air on SPEED at 9 p.m. (EST) today, and the race will air LIVE on SPEED at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 25.