But Hay­den and Bradl still have work to do...

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

Sign­ing for­mer Moto2 cham­pion Ste­fan Bradl to join for­mer Motogp cham­pion Nicky Hay­den is not a bad way of go­ing about the busi­ness of win­ning WSB races.

The only prob­lem for the Honda duo is that they are way be­hind in get­ting to know their new ma­chines, be­cause the project it­self is way be­hind in de­vel­op­ment. The new bikes didn’t even turn up at the team’s work­shops in the Nether­lands un­til the New Year, mak­ing the challenge of be­ing ready for round one this week­end prac­ti­cally in­sur­mount­able.

With lit­tle data and low spec en­gine tun­ing as yet, test­ing has gone more awry the fur­ther it has gone on. The sec­ond and fi­nal out­ing in Por­tu­gal was worse than the first one in Spain.

“It has not been a very pos­i­tive cou­ple of days,” said Hay­den af­ter Por­tu­gal. “We hoped that we could make progress but we strug­gled much more here than in Jerez. That is def­i­nitely not how you like to leave the fi­nal pre-sea­son test but that is what we are up against. We were strug­gling with the power here. It was re­ally ag­gres­sive and that was caus­ing prob­lems for edge grip. With many of the cor­ners at Por­ti­mao be­ing linked to­gether, we suf­fered badly.”

“There are a cou­ple of places where the power is in dif­fer­ent ar­eas com­pared to last year’s bike, and it feels a lit­tle bit lighter on the front; lighter in gen­eral. The change of di­rec­tion is bet­ter but we are miss­ing some grip from the rear that we had on the old bike. This en­gine def­i­nitely has more scope to work with.”

For Bradl, who had never rid­den a su­per­bike be­fore, ev­ery­thing is new.

“Our first test was just a shake­down test but we had a lot of prob­lems and we needed to stop the runs a few times to col­lect data,” said the 2011 Moto2 champ. “That cost a lot of time, but ob­vi­ously we knew it was not go­ing to be easy.” MCN says: It’s been a decade since Ten Kate Honda won the WSB crown with James Tose­land. The new bike of­fers them the chance to get back to the front, but with Ducati and Kawasaki at the top of their game there is a long way to go. Hay­den and the team are good enough to win, while Bradl re­mains an un­known.

‘We hoped we’d make progress but we strug­gled more than at Jerez’

Will Red­bull fly Hay­den and Bradl (right) to WSB glory?

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