From 11-02: Nicky Rides RC211V For First Time
Note: Originally published Wednesday, November 13, 2002, this was the first time that Nick rode a MotoGP bike. He really wanted to try an NSR500 but never got the chance.

This was the "seen a lot of bikes I never seen before" test.

This just in from Honda on Hayden's RC211V Test:

American Superbike Champion Nicky Hayden today took his first step in MotoGP racing when he tested the Honda RC211V at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, in Japan. Hayden, 21 years old from Owensboro Kentucky, completed just 50 laps of the circuit as he acquainted himself with the characteristics of the World Championship winning five-cylinder 990cc four-stroke.

Weather at the 4.801km circuit was half-wet in the morning, because of overnight rain, as Hayden took to the track but turned out to be fine after lunch. At the end of the day Hayden said:

"I'm impressed how fast it is, but the power is still real smooth. It's like wheelie-ing everywhere. Acceleration is so hard, but really smooth. In the morning it was a little bit difficult, as the machine, tires, carbon discs, the track, everything was new, the track was half-wet, and I haven't been riding since the final round of AMA Superbike in August. When I hit the brake for the first time, I was kind of surprised how it doesn't work when it's cold!"

"In the afternoon session, I started feeling more comfortable, after I had finished more than 20 laps in the morning and also after I changed the position a little bit. The bike is much smaller than the Superbike and feels different, but I like it! I really enjoyed riding. But you know, I'm still kind of learning the track and also the bike, so I'm not real comfortable yet." Concluded the American.

The new development project leader of the RC211V, Mr. Shogo Kanaumi said:

"The purpose of this test is not to make fast lap times, but basically to let Nicky get used to the new machine, make basic adjustments for him, and correct his own request about the set-up. The track conditions were not so good in the morning, but it got better and we tried many things and completed everything what we planed to do. The machine, the track, tires, carbon brake, everything was totally new for Nicky, and considering that, we realized his adaptability and machine control ability once again. I'm really looking forward to his success during next season."

Team Moriwaki Honda took the opportunity offered by HRC to test at Motegi. The team brought their prototype MD211VF, RC211V's V5 powered MotoGP machine to the track for initial shake down testing. Ridden by Masao Okuno the machine completed a full day of data recording laps.

Team owner Mamoru Moriwaki was pleased with the day's work. He said. "Today's test was OK for the shake-down test. I'm filled with emotions right now, as I know how hard have everyone in the team has been working until today. This is my first step to challenge the world, and I'm so happy."

Moriwaki went on to say. "Of course we found various technical problems, but we expected that and to find problems is exactly what this test is for. But from today's result, I became more confident about participating in MotoGP as a wild-card entry during 03. That is our first goal at this moment, and we'll keep on working hard for that. At this moment, our MD211VF is like a newly born Deer that has stood up for the first time. We will try hard to let it run actively in the field from now on!"
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