Aragon WSBK Test: Fog Gets Nicky Hayden's World Superbike Debut Off To A Late Start

Nicky Hayden turned his first official laps as a World Superbike rider on Monday, putting the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR through its paces for the first time. The test did not get off to a particularly auspicious start, the day delayed by a wet track and thick fog, which took a long time to clear. Nevertheless, Hayden took his first laps shortly before one, to try to get a feel for the bike. The first exit was on wet tires, the track still damp, and there was no serious action on the circuit until late in the afternoon, when the sun finally broke through the clouds.

Though no times were released, German-language website Speedweek reports that Hayden's best lap was a 1'53.3, 1.8 seconds off the fastest time of reigning world champion Jonathan Rea, who set a 1'51.5. Hayden spent a lot of time working on his position on the bike and the position of footpegs and seat. He also spent a lot of time with the electronics, trying to set them up to get a better connection between throttle and engine. You can read more of his comments on the Bikesportnews website.

Though all eyes were on Nicky Hayden, there were quite a few other teams at the track. The Kawasaki Racing team continued their work of preparing the new ZX-10R, with Jonathan Rea working on seating position and adapting to the new engine and chassis. Tom Sykes did not ride, waiting for better conditions expected tomorrow.

Yamaha were also present, Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli continuing the work of preparing Yamaha's brand new YZF-R1 for its debut in the World Superbike class. The team had no new parts to test, but with a new bike to prepare, they had plenty of work to continue with after their test at Jerez. Chaz Davies was present for Ducati, concentrating on the engine of the Ducati Panigale 1199R. His teammate Davide Giugliano is not present at the test, as he is still recovering from the back injury he suffered earlier this year. Giugliano is now back riding motorcycles, however, and could make his return to testing at Jerez in ten days' time.

There were also a few World Supersport entries present. Most notable was PJ Jacobsen, working with the CORE Honda project ready for 2016. Testing continues on Tuesday, with better weather expected, and hopefully, a full day's testing for the teams.

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Looking forward to seeing Nicky race, I just wish he had made this move immediately after leaving Ducati. Better yet, immediately after leaving an ungrateful Honda when he was much healthier. I hope his wrist holds out. My best MotoGP moments were watching Nicky podium at Indianapolis (remember when Hurricane Katrina had it's effects and Nicky did everything he could to hold of Dovi in the terrible wind & rain?) and later at Aragon, pulling that move on Lorenzo on the last lap.

But it was Hurricane Ike; Katrina was 2005. Also, it was Lorenzo he was holding off, not Dovizioso.

go hard boy!!!

Almost 10 years to the day when I suggested he should be the first to win a MotoGP and WSB championship, and NOW, he finally tries????? :-)

Reasonably confident the Honda is not going to be good enough but as Max showed, get in, get results, then pick your bike, and go.

You were suggesting that Nicky should try for the Motogp-WSBK double before he won the motogp title, and after his third year on the Honda - when he'd been on the podium a total of 10 times in those three years?

I like the guy, but I think you were a little premature in calling that.

I am really looking forward to next year in SBK. I think is encouraging to see Nicky within 1.8 seconds of the champion on his first day. I am certain he will be at the pointy end of the pack next year. I am going to Las Vegas this weekend to see the Superprestigio. I sure wish he could be there. He's great on a short track. Good luck Nicky.

While I'm hopeful Nicky can have a decent season this year, decent enough to have him want to keep riding in WSBK, with what I've heard about this years fireblade, I don't have a lot of expectations for him to have great results. Unless I've missed something along the way, which is entirely possible (and I'd be quite happy in this instance to have pointed out to me that I have!) there's not much different about this years Honduh from last, and that from my understanding wasn't that much better than 2013s Blade either. With that in mind, if Johnny Rea couldn't put it on the box on a regular basis, I fear Nicky won't fare much better. I'm not at all trying to suggest either of these talented lads is better or worse a rider than the other mind you, simply stating that given the fact it's his first year in an completely different series, on a completely different bike with completely different tires, regs, tracks, etc etc and given what we know about the Blades current itteration, it could be a tough year for Nicky. Of course, coming from riding that joke of an "Open" bike he was saddled with in MotoGP, he may find this bike is more to his liking and possibly an even better machine on the whole. I don't doubt his ability to come to grips with both the series and the venues rather quickly, he's a consumate professional, I just hope he doesn't get discouraged, frustrated or quickly become bored with yet again finishing mid-pack for another season, or (and what I know of his personality makes me highly doubt this would happen to begin with, but it is worth a mention) start to doubt whether he shouldn't have hung up his leathers instead of swapping series, and in turn not give HRC a chance to build him a contender for the following season.
I also hope HRC do, in fact, build him a contender and don't display more of that Honduh arrogance and ambivalence they seem to show to their riders frequently in MotoGP when their riders feedback doesn't necessarily please their engineers ears. Fingers crossed for ya Nicky. Let's hope they give you that opportunity to be the first MotoGP and WSBK world champ!

Really great to have Hayden in the Superbike world championship next year, but sad that he's going from one POS to another.
I was hoping so much to see him on an Aprilia RSV4 next year... Too bad the MotoGP project is taking up too much of Aprilia's resources for them to have a factory team in Superbikes as well.
Hopefully he can stick around as long as Biaggi, Bayliss and Checa did, and get a proper bike in the next seasons. Those men have proved that you're not done in your late thirties or even early forties, so at 34 Nicky has plenty of years ahead of him. Looking forward to it!

Had a wry smile at the mention of Nicky trying "to get a better connection between throttle and engine". A certain other Fireblade-riding-ex-MotoGP rider would have killed for ANY connection between throttle and engine heading into turn 10 at Suzuka a few months ago!
Apologies to Casey for seeing the humour, hope you're healing well.
Like others, I wish NH all the best but expect a year of hard graft on a very old bike. At least he has the hope of a podium if all goes well and a few cards perhaps fall his way which is more than could be said of the 3rd tier Hondas in MotoGP. But he'll likely have to out-ride those on Kawasakis, Yamahas, Aprilias and even Ducatis if he's to get on the box. Hope he can, he's a class act.

Rea finished the season in 3rd on the CBR last year. There is still hope!

Also I think Nicky is in a great position. Everybody knows the Blade is outdated so they don't expect much from him. If he wins it's a huge deal. If he loses it's "Eh the bike sucks". No pressure for his first year. He can hang tight without people slagging him off for "underperforming", while he waits on the new bike for next year.

If Nicky had stayed with Ducati and moved to WSBK two years ago he'd have a pretty competitive bike now, instead of wasting two years on that POS Honda. As a Ducati guy that was something I'd hoped for - one of my favorite riders on my bike. Personally I think Ducati treated Nicky infinitely better than Honda did in GP.

Rea sort of showed how bad the Honda was when he got to the Kawi, didn't he? I don't necessarily have much faith that Honda is going to release a new, competitive bike anytime soon, but Ten Kate knows how to get the most out of the bike if anyone does. Hopefully they can build Nicky something competitive.

[2015 Champ] "Rea sort of showed how bad the Honda was when he got to the Kawi, didn't he?"

2014 Champ Guintoli showed how bad the Honda was when he left Aprilia, too.

2014 on the Aprilia = 16 podiums including 5 wins, 8 second-places, and 6 Fastest Laps.

2015 on the Honda = 1 podium (3rd place at his home race in France), 0 Fastest Laps.

I have a hard time believing any argument against the fact that Honda considers WSBK to be their perfunctory advertisement in the back of a magazine that they expect no one to read (placed as a favor to the wife's brother-in-law who runs said magazine). I wouldn't be surprised if Bridgepoint via Dorna put the screws to Honda to not pull a Yamaha and just drop out of factory WSBK, even though Honda might have liked to to concentrate 100% of their efforts on MotoGP.

I was of the opinion at the time best thing to do was jump on the new Paningale & by now who knows?? I think the Ten Kate team will make the difference on the cbr. The cbr is an old girl now, so if Nicky can podium in 2016 as others have said it may make way for a competitive ride(im cautious to write the cbr off though). Rea has quite some talent, remember his wildcard rides on the rcv- impressive & now he is SBK champ after jumping on the Kwaka.
Nicky in SBK 2016 is unknown as yet but I really do believe he could get some decent results/ the Honda is not completely obsolete, Yet!!

Day 2 and one 10th off of Van dM is very solid.
I agree that he just has to beat his team mate, who is really gifted and in his groove btw. Then they are in line for a new bike that should be a gem.

Things look good. I am betting that the Kid is invigorated with the move. He has the makings of a great Superbike rider. Again.