Nicky Hayden Race Report: Friday SBK Practice at Phillip Island

Nicky Hayden: 6 Tenths Off Pace Friday at Friday SBK Practice
Honda’s Nicky Hayden

After 12 years in the MotoGP Championship, the American Nicky Hayden departed with the GP series and joined the Honda WorldSBK team for 2016 World Superbike. The 34-year-old Kentuckian is currently the only American in World SBK.

The 2006 MotoGP Champion (Ducati) quickly became acquainted the Honda CBR1000RR SP during preseason WorldSBK testing, and on Friday he completed his first official day of practice.

Read our Phillip Island SBK Friday Report.

Hayden worked on improving the bike’s feeling Friday during the opening practice of 2016 SBK at Phillip Island. When the day was over, Hayden finished sixth overall with a best lap of 1:31.475 – 0.610 of a second behind the day’s leader, Yamaha Official WorldSBK’s Sylvain Guintoli, the 2014 World Superbike Champion.

Nicky Hayden in pit box Phillip Island SuperbikeDue to a new format that automatically places the top-20 riders from free practice 2 into both 15-minute Superpole, Hayden has his energy set on a top-qualifying effort. Hayden’s first race of his SBK career begins at 3 p.m. local time Saturday; race 2 at Phillip Island is set for 3 p.m. Sunday.

Nicky Hayden says: “Day one of my new beginning is over and it wasn’t too bad. Of course, I always would like to be faster and I would have loved to be more consistent in the afternoon, but I was able to go a bit quicker than during the test.

“I just need to get comfortable with how the bike moves around in changing direction and on corner exit, but I think it’s just my feeling because, after looking at the data, the team says that it isn’t moving much. I think I need to be gentler while changing direction in order not to upset it too much. I’m glad we made it to Superpole 2 and we’ll work on something tomorrow morning.”