Torrance, CA: After two days of extensive testing at world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the final touches have been made to the American Honda Moto2 team's Honda Moriwaki MD600 in preparation for the team's debut at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on August 27 to 29. Under the leadership of team manager Kevin Schwantz and with the support of Kevin Erion and his Erion Racing crewmembers, Roger Lee Hayden completed two successful days of testing on his Honda-powered race machine.
After two previous tests-one at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway and a second at Barber Motorsports Park-it all came together at the team's final test on August 19-20. "We've continued to improve on our lap times and more importantly Roger is getting more and more comfortable on the bike," said Erion. "We made some changes to the swingarm and suspension settings and also worked on finding additional grip via changes to the shock and clutch setup."
"Roger is communicating really well with the team, which has helped us identify exactly where our strengths and weaknesses are, and I think he's riding the bike really well," said Schwantz. Because motorcycles have not raced at Indy since the last USGP in 2009, the track was a bit "green."
"Roger felt the track was pretty green on the motorcycle racing line on Thursday morning," said Schwantz. "A few of us jumped on bikes at lunchtime and laid down 25 laps or so to put rubber on the racing line. When Roger went back out in the afternoon, the grip on the track was better. It all went well and I think we're in good shape heading into the race next week."
Hayden returned home to Kentucky after the team's Barber test last month where he enjoyed a short break from his hectic international travel schedule. Feeling refreshed, Hayden is ready to make the team's debut at the Indianapolis race.
"Testing went good," said Hayden. "We learned that the Indianapolis track is a lot more like the first track we tested at (Chuckwalla) and very different from Barber. It's actually tricky to gauge how fast we are at this point as the Moto2 class has never raced on this track and we don't have specific lap times that we can measure our speed against. By looking at past MotoGP and 250cc lap times on this track we are able to get an indication of how fast we think we need to be and we believe we're just about there. I really like riding this bike because it's fairly small and in the tight, fast corners you can change direction so fast. It hits lines perfectly and I'm able to carry tons of corner speed through turns, which makes it a lot of fun."
American Honda wishes the team best of luck at the Red Bull Indy GP. While there, please stop by the Honda display and find out about all the activities Honda has planned for the Indy weekend. Honda staff will be on site to sell Drudi-designed replica team T-shirts and hats with the proceeds benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation(r) (PBTF). There will also be a photo opportunity for fans to have their portrait taken with the painted team bike, with the proceeds benefiting the PBTF.
Practice for the Moto2 class begins Friday, August 27, with the race taking place on Sunday, August 29.
Photos courtesy of SPEED.
For more information about American Honda's involvement in the 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP, contact: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (310) 783-3745.