Hayden: Coming home doesn't cure problems.
Saturday, 21st July 2007
The reigning world champion has taken two podiums in the last two rounds, but both have come from deep on the grid - ruling out a victory challenge - and the Repsol Honda rider was hoping he'd be on the attack from the outset this weekend.
"Well we went quite a lot faster this afternoon but today has proved that coming home is really nice but it doesn't necessarily cure all your problems!" said Nicky, whose young brother Roger Lee Hayden is riding as a wild-card for Kawasaki. "The support I'm getting from the fans is unreal, however we've struggled to get a good direction here which has been a bit frustrating. The new track surface isn't working the tyres like we thought it would and we've been down around mid-pack all day.
"It's still early though, and we've proved this year that we can improve a lot through the weekend, so we'll definitely chip away at it. The new surface is still bumpy in some places, though not nearly as bad as last year. We're going to have to sit down and look at the data tonight - we've got work to do, no doubt, but you can bet we'll be working our hardest to come up with something," he vowed.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa, winner last Sunday in Germany and second to Hayden at Laguna Seca last season, was far more threatening on day one - the young Spaniard claiming fifth position, just over half second behind fastest man Casey Stoner.
"We made quite a big improvement in the lap time at the end of the afternoon session and we've got a lot of information to work with from practice today," said Dani, still to sign for 2008. "The main issue is the grip levels. We're trying to get some more traction and reduce the amount of wheelspin around the circuit. This afternoon, it was a similar situation to the morning. The track felt quite slippery and we weren't able to get the best out of our tyres for most of the session. Still, we've got some things to go on and we'll aim to improve the set-up and hone the gearing again tomorrow ahead of qualifying."
"Today has been a slightly tricky situation for us and the new surface is proving more slippery than expected for our riders," confirmed team manager Makoto Tanaka. "I think tomorrow it will improve step by step and hopefully give us more traction because that's what we need at the moment. The temperatures increased by 10 degrees from 32 degrees C in the morning to 42 in the afternoon, but this didn't give us the increase in grip we anticipated. So for tomorrow we'll be looking to improve the settings for both machines ready for qualifying."
Qualifying times - Laguna Seca.
Saturday, 21st July 2007
1. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 22.292 secs
2. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 22.501 secs
3. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 22.590 secs
4. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 22.624 secs
5. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 22.683 secs
6. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 22.914 secs
7. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 22.933 secs
8. Colin Edwards USA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 22.943 secs
9. Shinya Nakano JPN Konica Minolta Honda (M) 1min 23.006 secs
10. Marco Melandri ITA Honda Gresini (B) 1min 23.018 secs
11. Makoto Tamada JPN Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 23.036 secs
12. Anthony West AUS Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.091 secs
13. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.113 secs
14. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 23.207 secs
15. Carlos Checa SPA Honda LCR (M) 1min 23.263 secs
16. Roger Lee Hayden USA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.425 secs
17. Alex Barros BRA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 23.557 secs
18. Kurtis Roberts USA Team Roberts (M) 1min 23.662 secs
19. Miguel Duhamel USA Honda Gresini (B) 1min 23.923 secs
20. Chaz Davies GBR Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 24.098 secs
2007 US Grand Prix:
Fastest practice time: Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro (B) 1min 22.365secs (FP3)
2006 US Grand Prix:
Pole position: Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki (B) 1min 23.168secs
Fastest lap: Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda (M) 1min 23.333secs