Friday, March 03, 2006
Nicky Hayden wore a groove in the Barcelona track today testing the latest version of the RCV. He was Honda’s fastest man, unfortunately he was only 5th fastest and 0.6 slower than–you guessed it–Mr. Valentino Rossi. The next Honda was Marco Melandri in eighth. Nicky did an astounding 103 laps today compared to Vale’s 54. I expect Nicky to stick with the new bike tomorrow and for the timed session on Sunday. The rest of the Honda riders are on 2005 bikes plus a bit of evolution. Dani Pedrosa (Nicky’s teammate on the factory team) has another dose of evolution on his bike.
Rossi stayed in bed this morning at his hotel, presumably not threatened by anything in MotoGP that would force him to do the ‘early to rise’ act. While he slept, John Hopkins and Colin Edwards traded off the fastest man position. Then Rossi came to the track, did a handful of laps, and set fast time.
Yamahas backed the champ up with Colin Edwards in second and Carlos Checa (Dunlops and all) third. John Hopkins put the new Suzuki–75-degree V, pneumatic valves and all–into fourth.
The question for tomorrow: will the Honda’s improve on their fifth and eighth positions?