Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden are pretty pissed off. Due to the half-hearted engagement from Honda, the first race of the 2017 season was a debacle.
The Ten Kate Red Bull Team only got 7 points on the whole weekend, for Honda it’s the worst Season-start ever since they took the Fireblade-model in 2004. And it is the worst race-weekend since the season finale 2013 in Jerez, when Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio got 2 points (both together) for the whole weekend.
From Dream-team to Nightmare-weekend
Ex-MotoGP-Champion Nicky Hayden with former Moto2-Champion Stefan Bradl as team-mate? Then there’s a big sponsor like Red Bull? Put all those ingredients in the Ten Kate-team and it sounds like a Dreamteam right?
But it didn’t look like one on this weekend at Phillip Island.
Here’s why : It seems that Honda hasn’t done his Homework properly. Only in january this year, the team got the new Fireblade, so they could start working on the basics, where other teams have already been finished in winter 2016.
Bradl: ‘‘ I actually feel like being a testrider‘‘ he said after the race. Other than Ten Kate Honda, all the other teams like Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki, MV Agusta are factory teams and also Aprilia is going to be closer to the factory this season.
But the support from Honda for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike team is very small.
Honda’s small Interest in the WSBK
They aren’t that interested in the Superbike championship, because they have all their money going into the MotoGP championship. Then the Motocross world championship and the Rally Dakar are also on top of their checklist. And at the end of this list, there’s the Superbike-team.
Hayden’s and Bradl’s opinion
Bradl: ‘‘ We have to change something, because, when we don’t, we are in big trouble‘‘. He never had such a bad feel for the throttle in combination to the rear tyre.
Performance improvement needs time, says Nicky Hayden. ‘‘ I try to think in a positive manner and try to avoid all those negative thoughts while i prepare myself for the season‘‘.
He also said : ‘‘ We have to build up this project and work so hard to reach our goals‘‘.
Nicky Hayden also had the idea after the race, that the team maybe should have used the old Fireblade from the 2016-season for the first 2 races.
Haydens aspects from the first race : ‘‘ The brakes worked/felt actually great, but this didn’t help us in Phillip Island, because there are not enough hard-braking-zones, so maybe in Thailand we’ll have an advantage. But this is pretty much everything, all the other riders are so much faster than you, this doesn’t make any Fun, you’re going to be demoralized. Now we have to look forward, the season has just began and in Racing, things can change pretty fast.‘‘