Despite a lack of development with the new Honda CBR1000RR, Nicky Hayden was still able to crack the top 10 in second free practice for the opening round of the World Superbike season, at Phillip Island.
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Hayden qualifies directly into Superpole 2 at Phillip Island
The opening day of action of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has been contested at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia, with Nicky Hayden able to claim an eighth place in the combined times of today’s two free practice sessions. Courtesy of this result, the 35-year-old American rider has gained direct access to tomorrow’s Superpole 2, while his Red Bull Honda World Superbike teammate Stefan Bradl will try and make his way through the first qualifying session after finishing the day in sixteenth position.
Hayden was able to take the best out of the new Pirelli spec tyres brought for the Australian round as he clocked in 1’31.099s on board his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine in the first free practice session. Bradl significantly improved his feeling with the bike in the morning after working extensively with his crew on the electronic side of the brand-new Honda motorcycle.
World Superbike action will resume tomorrow morning at 10:20 local time (GMT+11) for the 25-minute free practice 3 session, with Superpole 1 and Superpole 2 set to get underway at 12:30 and 12:55, respectively. The opening race of the season will start at 15:00.
Nicky Hayden 69
It’s nice to be at Phillip Island and get the season back off. We had a few ideas to try on the bike from testing here earlier this week: we made a little bit of a step forward, with the track conditions being a bit better and with the new spec tyres brought by Pirelli, one of which I particularly liked. I was able to do some decent times with it but we still need to find some more speed ahead of race one. The competition is really tough in the group where I’m in at the moment. Being in Superpole 2 is surely good news so I hope we’ll be able to qualify well tomorrow and get a good race result.