Nicky Hayden Tests The Newly Resurfaced Indianapolis

As the 2012 MotoGP calendar starts to take shape, it is becoming increasingly clear that Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to be a part of it. In response to complaints from a number of riders about the varying surfaces around Indy's road course, IMS has taken it upon itself to completely resurface the interior section of the road course, from Turn 5, where the riders leave the historic oval for the second time, all the way through to Turn 16, where the road course rejoins the oval once again to head along the front straight. Resurfacing the entire infield just for 2011 - this being the final year of Indianapolis Motor Speedway's contract with MotoGP - seems a rather expensive thing to do, and is a clear sign that Indy is hoping to be a firm fixture on the calendar for the foreseeable future. Once Austin joins the MotoGP calendar in 2013, this would see three races take place in the US, with the Texan circuit joining Indianapolis and Laguna Seca.

Nicky Hayden was sent out on a Ducati streetbike to test the new surface, and his report on the state of the new track is highly favorable, describing it as "pretty much perfect." After the event, IMS issued a press release and interview with Hayden, as well as a video of Hayden trying out the new surface. Here's the video, the press release follows below.

Below is the official press release put out by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:


INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, August 5, 2011 - American MotoGP rider and 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden was the first to check out the newly paved Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Friday morning in preparation for the 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP, August 26-28 at IMS.

The fourth annual Red Bull Indianapolis GP will showcase the world's finest motorcycle racers including superstars Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, along with American stars Colin Edwards and Ben Spies, who will soar through the IMS 16-turn road course at speeds up to 200 mph.

A three-time Moto GP race winner, Hayden won the 2006 MotoGP World Championship and has a career that includes six runner-up finishes, five pole positions and six fastest laps.

Known as the "Kentucky Kid", Hayden was born and lives in Owensboro, Ky., and considers the Indianapolis Motor Speedway his home track. In the three previous Red Bull Indianapolis GPs, Hayden finished as the runner-up in 2008, third in 2009 and sixth in 2010.

Hayden took a Ducati 1198 for a ride earlier this morning over the recently refurbished IMS road course. Beginning on June 9, 2011, crews repaved 1.5 miles of the circuit from Turn 5 through Turn 16. The existing asphalt was ground and then repaved with fresh asphalt to create a surface consistent with the other sections of the course. The FIM, the worldwide sanctioning body of motorcycling, inspected and approved the repaved section of the circuit July 7. The following is a Q&A with Nicky Hayden.

Q: Now that you've experienced the new IMS MotoGP road course surface, what do you think?

NICKY HAYDEN: The new surface is just what I expected, it's pretty much perfect. There are a couple corners that the riders requested to be redone and IMS went above and beyond, and actually the whole infield from Turn 5 to the finish is repaved, so I'm looking forward to getting back here on the race bike and laying some rubber down and cleaning up the racing line and trying it out.

Q: Will this increase competition or make it better for the riders, or both?

HAYDEN: I think it's safer, for one. There was a lot of crashing in the Turn 6 area over those bumps and I think it'll also make the racing better. It's going to open up a few areas where before it was one line because you had to miss the bumps, and now I think it'll make for better racing because there will be more places to pass. Just a more enjoyable, more fun track, so I know all the riders love Indy anyway and it's only going to make it better.

Q: Is there anything unique about this track compared to others?

HAYDEN: A lot. I mean look at the place, look at the size of it. It's pretty much the only track inside an oval like this. We race Motegi, which is part in an oval, but part outside. But definitely there's a heritage and a little bit of hype about Indy, a bit of swag, and this place has been around a long time and did a lot of racing. For me, being from Kentucky, it's the highlight of the year for me. I know a lot of guys really look forward to this one and it's a special race.

Q: Being from Kentucky, how important is this event to you?

HAYDEN: They're all important. The races in Italy are the team's home races, and Laguna Seca, also being in California, is cool, but to race three hours from home is something I never expected when I came to MotoGP. At that time there wasn't a race in America. The closest I got to home was Brazil, so I really cherish it. Every year I enjoy it more and more, and get more and more fans from home that have never really seen me race, or certainly never seen me race MotoGP. I get a lot of support. Owensboro is a great town that really gets behind their guys no matter what you're doing, and there are going to be a lot of people here from Owensboro for the race.

Q: Ducati is kind of like the Ferrari of motorcycles. What's it like racing for a team like Ducati?

HAYDEN: Like you say, Ferrari and Ducati kind of have that Italian swag, and it's a very unique bike, it's a very special bike with a lot of history. They just don't produce thousands and thousands of bikes. It's a small, small company that puts everything into their bikes and produce only road bikes, and I've learned a lot. The team is awesome. I mean, they love their bikes and love their team, and when you're in Italy you feel it. Everybody, from the people at the grocery store to the guys at the gas station, they're all behind you. This year hasn't been an easy year for us, but we know our bike is good and sometimes it's a little bit sharp, you get it outside that area that's the sweet spot and it makes for a long day, but when you get it on the sweet spot you know it's an absolute weapon. Hopefully when we come back here in three weeks we'll have it dialed in. We race the Czech Republic next and then we have a big test after the race, which is going to be really important for us to hopefully find something and get us teed up for a big weekend at Indy.

Q: You've got a great teammate (multiple time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi). How important is a good teammate in this series?

HAYDEN: I think we've got a good team. We're the only team with two world champions in it at the moment, so that's pretty unique in its own way and we still get along good. Me and him, obviously we want to beat each other, he's 16 points in front of me, I think, and it would be a big honor for me if I could beat him. He's won 11 titles over there and has pretty much set the standard for the last decade. It's been a different challenge for us because having an Italian world champion on the team has brought a lot of expectations and a lot of pressure, but the people there are still behind us, and of course they want results and want us winning, which we're not doing at the moment, which makes it hard. I've learned a lot from him, and also that goes both ways. This bike has been new to him and he's not above asking questions and wanting to know why, and I think right now the results haven't shown, but I think next year it's going to pay off when we come with the new rules and they go back to the thousand-ccs. I think having two strong teammates who are pushing in the same direction is going to be better instead of two guys wanting to go in different ways.

Q: Could you talk a little bit about how you as a rider can affect how your bike handles?

HAYDEN: The rider makes the biggest difference on a motorcycle, where in a car when you're strapped in with a seat belt on there's only so much you can do. On a motorcycle you have a lot more freedom to move around, use your body and different things to help make up for what the bike's maybe not doing. You can't ride a sled around here and think you're going to get on the podium on it, but a good bike, good team, good rider is all pretty even. It's not like you gotta have all three, but a rider can make that difference.


2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets: 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets are on sale now.

To buy tickets, visit, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street. Ticket office and phone hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

The 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 26-28 at IMS.

Race Day general admission tickets cost $40, with Friday general admission $10 and Saturday general admission $20. A three-day general admission ticket is $60. A Friday-Saturday general admission ticket is $25.

Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free any of the three days of the event when accompanied by an adult with a general admission ticket.

Race Day reserved seat prices will start at $70.

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Well if you count his 7 premier class titles, a 250cc title in 1999, a 125 title in 1997, a Suzuka 8 hour title he won with Colin Edwards in 2001 and a Italian 125 title way back in 1994 I believe it was that adds up to 11 titles somehow.

he said titles not WCs.

Nicky is a great guy and always deserve more credit than fans give him. It's also a pleasure listening to him (though I do struggle with his accent at times).

Riders have been complaining for years. You could actually see the rough parts of the track on TV. Bumps right in braking areas going into turns. Surprised more people did not speak worse of the track. I have a feeling that track in Texas may have something to do with Indianapolis repave popping up ;)

Well I think the ink is already dry on the contract for there to be a race in Texas until 2017 or 2018 so repaving Indy will have nothing to do with that race being run.

I was more speaking on the quality of the track than the race being run. Circuit of Americas will be a new track, with new even pavement all the way around which will be in contrast to Indy infield track. Indy is known to be the greatest most built up circuit in the US, (on the oval). That is great domestically, but on a world level, the infield was considered below par as far as pavement goes. This new track pops up that will be running Motogp from 2013 to 2023. Not just Motogp, but Formula 1 which Indy lost a contract with. These are the two premier Series in the world. That speaks to the level the Texas track is being built up to be. Still have to see it when finished. But they have two of the Heaviest hitters signed on already. Those two alone signed on guarantees other series and the money to go with them will come through Texas. Making them the track held in the highest regard in the US.

A circuit with a decent level of surface consistency erases a major anomally in terms of bike setup. I hope the weather plays ball.
Rossi's 11 titles, slip of the tongue from Nick, I guess.
The press release is amusing though. ...'Including superstars Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa...'. Its common knowledge that Casey Stoner intends boycotting Motegi. I didn't know that Indy was crossed off his agenda.
Maybe he's just not a 'superstar' worth a mention in such illustrious company.
Anyway, I'm glad to hear that the brickfield surface has uniformity.
Like the resurfaced Mugello,first to try it out was Ducati.
As Mugello was for Rossi/Ducati, Indy is huge for Hayden/Ducati. No doubt Ducati are working around the clock. Their American market wants results.
Problem is they continually profess to be working harder. I would have thought that by now they would be working smarter. In that short video clip, Nicky looked pretty planted on the trellis framed 1198. Why not try the CF and the trellis back to back ? If it works, don't fix it. The trellis handled the the 990's immense HP with the L-4 lump as a load bearer quite handily at a fraction of R&D costs being poured down the gurgler of the monocoque experiment.

On the frame bit. It is mystifing to me why they will not go back to a frame they know how to make work. It will still be different than the Japanese bikes, so there is no risk in being the same. Really scratching my head over Ducati. Want to see them and Rossi win again.

Nicky looked pretty planted on the trellis framed 1198.

I agree with your point, but to be fair Nicky was barely on his knee in the vid. I don't know what tyres it had on it but I think it was just a road bike minus mirrors, so he was probably 10s minimum off MotoGP pace. At that speed he'd look pretty planted on any MotoGP bike...

The misconception that the steel trellis frame will be the answer to Ducati's handling problem needs to die.
Ducati had problems building a frame (steel) that was stiff enough under braking (the steering head used to deflect so much, that the front wheel would rub on the cylinder head). It had reached it's limit, and thus they moved to the CF frame. (From memory, Stoner was 1 sec quicker on the CF frame at it's first test post barcelona 2008)
The CF airbox/frame also allows for a larger airbox volume. It is a better solution in a number of areas, but could perhaps have a longer section to distribute flex over. A greater limitation is perhaps the 90 degree L configuration engine, which severly limits the weight distribution optimisation.

This is something that fascinates me (which is probably a sad commentary on my priorities, but never mind). I'm not voting(*) for a return to the D16 trellis, but trying to find if the 1198 frame philosophy has something to give.

If you look at the 1198 frame, it has no cross-bracing behind the steering head... in fact none in the frame at all! So the steering head depends on the resistance of the main tubes to bending, in order to resist braking loads. So while the truss form of the sides of the trellis should work like a beam frame, the steering head looks to be less well supported than a typical 250GP.

Yet empirically, the 1198 seems quite effective. Moreover, comparing 851/916/999/1198 frames, the evolution is clear: with each generation they have removed bracing to allow more lateral flex... and with the latest generation, apparently more braking deflection.

Empirically, on Pirellis it seems to work. And let's not forget that the actual braking forces are slightly higher on the SBK because of greater mass. The crucial factor may be the longer distance from steering head to engine mounts, as you say.

The lower part of the 1198 trellis is notably narrower than the top, hence the bends in the lower tubes are less pronounced, which should improve the strength. How much wider is the D16 motor? The D16 trellis actually looks like a wider version of the Monster Evo frame, except that has diagonal cross-bracing....

Then again, we the armchair experts were convinced the weight was too far back, then they went faster by moving it further back LOL

(*) and somehow I doubt that my vote has a great influence on Preziosi anyway :-D

"And let's not forget that the actual braking forces are slightly higher on the SBK because of greater mass".

Incorrect. The braking force of a MotoGP machine is significantly greater than a WSBK. Easily enough to outweigh the difference in mass between the 2 bikes. Pretty much every rider who gets on a MotoGP bike for the first time, when asked what they notice the most, say "the braking force". Net force = mass x acceleration. Or in regards to your comment, deceleration.

The braking forces are determined by the product of (bike+rider mass) x deceleration, as you say. The maximum deceleration in g's is given by the cotangent of the angle between the ground and the line from the front contact patch through the centre of mass. That is why a BMW K1600 will outbrake a GSXR600, and why a good road car will massacre any bike on the brakes.

Unless the laws of physics have changed, the idea that MotoGP bikes brake extra-super hard is a myth, sorry.

The fact that it appears more brutal to the riders is partly due to the ergonomics (higher seat, lower bars) and the rapid transition to full braking allowed by stiffer suspension, frame and possibly the carbon-carbon brakes.

that is possible to reach given the geometry and mass of the bike but the point is: how close to this maximum deceleration is a MotoGP under braking compared to a Superbike?
Because this factor depends on the efficiency of the brakes, which is the original point of comparing stainless steel to carbon brakes I believe.
And it would be difficult to answer but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a MotoGP can reach deceleration values closer to the theoretical maximum than a Superbike.