From the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team:
The Dutch Round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has drawn to a close with the second race of the weekend at the TT Circuit Assen. After 21 intense laps throughout which the wind played a strong part, Nicky Hayden crossed the line in 9th place, with his Red Bull Honda World Superbike team mate Stefan Bradl one position behind in tenth.
Hayden got a great launch from 13th place on the grid and was already up to eighth place at the end of the opening lap. In the first half of the race, Nicky stayed in touch with the group fighting for sixth place on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine and, as the race entered its final part, he did his utmost to defend his position from a resurgent Jordi Torres, who overtook the American on the penultimate lap.
Bradl didn’t enjoy the best of starts from the front row of the grid and went all the way down to thirteenth in the early stages of the encounter. The 27-year-old from Germany was then able to set into a consistent rhythm and elevated himself to tenth place, his final position at the chequered flag.
The next round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship will take place at Imola’s ‘Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ in a fortnight’s time.
Nicky Hayden – 9th
Today was a much better race. I made a pretty good start, got in a battle with some other riders and was feeling like I was having one of my better races of the year. We were fighting with the wind, which was quite strong today and surely didn’t help. We need to do some work on the front-end in order to improve the tyre life for the second part of the race. The thing that hurt the most, though, was all the track-time we lost especially on Friday. I want to thank the guys because they worked hard and never lost focus, despite a challenging weekend.
Stefan Bradl – 10th
Today’s race was a bit of a reality check for us. I’m quite disappointed because in the first few laps the race ran out of my hands: I was struggling in the first corner and couldn’t build a good rhythm, because it took me a bit to find the feeling with the front-end of the bike after the changes we made. At the end of the race, though, my pace was consistent, although not as quick as I would have liked it to be, but still we were able to make up some places. There’s a lot of work to do still because Imola is not too far away and we need to be ready for it.
This morning we tried a different front tyre solution – a harder option – and Nicky was quite pleased with it. We decided to use it in the race and combine it with a harder option at the rear. He was very competitive in the first 6-7 laps after a good start, then had to drop the pace a little as he lost a bit of grip at the front; he couldn’t push as hard, especially in the last part of the lap. Stefan struggled a bit at the beginning, but then he settled into a steady rhythm which ultimately resulted in a top-10 finish. Obviously we cannot be happy with the outcome of the weekend, but we now have a better and clearer picture of what we need to do. There are many areas where we need to improve, but we will take every indication from here in order to be well prepared for Imola.
– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team.