An Interview With 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008 - An interview with 2006 MotoGPWorld Champion Nicky Hayden of the United States, conducted by theRepsol Honda Team press office.

Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., will compete with the rest of the MotoGPfield in the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sunday, Sept. 14 atthe Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 2008 MotoGP season starts Sunday,March 9 with the series' first-ever night race, at Qatar.

This will be Hayden's sixth season in the elite MotoGP class, all withthe Repsol Honda Team. He won the world title in 2006 with two victoriesbut slipped to eighth last season, with no wins.

Hayden, 26, led two of three days of official MotoGP testing this weekat Jerez, Spain, on his Repsol Honda Team Honda/Michelin. He also wasamong the leaders in testing last month at Phillip Island, Australia.

Q. What are your feelings about the 2008 motorcycle/tire package? Whatare the strong points of the new bike?

Nicky Hayden: I think that the big advantage of the new bike is theextra rpm. On the track the extra grunt on top is nice, it just keeps onpulling. But at the moment, the power is too peaky, so the enginespecialists at HRC have got some work to do before the season opener.Extra speed doesn't always mean better lap times, but in racesituations, it's a big edge for overtaking other riders. Everybody isworking hard, and Honda is hungry to get the title back. Racing thefirst race of the year under lights is going to be very cool for theriders, fans and everybody involved. I'm really looking forward to that.

Q. Can you tell us about your first 2008 test sessions? How is enginedevelopment going?

NH: I like what I have seen so far, and we are working on thedevelopment of the engine. I hope by the time we line up in Qatar thatthey will have that new boy ready. I am excited to see what Honda willproduce for us.

Q. You are working on development of the pneumatic-valve engine. Do youthink it will be ready for the first race?

NH: I'm not sure that it will be perfect by the first race, but I thinkHonda will produce us a real weapon and that it will be ready. Qatar hasa long home straight, and you need a good engine with plenty of ponies.

Q. Do you think that Michelin has made a step forward compared to lastyear?

NH: Yes, Michelin have made a nice step forward. Also the wet-weathertires I used at Phillip Island were very impressive, but we won't knowthe whole story 'til the first race. MotoGP is never easy, but I haveconfidence in Michelin.

Q. Do you feel less pressure this year? How are you approaching thisseason?

NH: I feel about the same, as far as pressure goes, because every year Iwant to do my best and make my team and the fans proud. This is not aneasy game, but we have a great team and a great bike. I am honored to beon the factory Repsol Honda Team, and I don't take this opportunitylightly. I plan to rise up this year and make it happen.

Q. What are your expectations for the 2008 season?

NH: My target for the year is clear - to win the title. I know afterlast season it may sound like a long shot, but I believe that when youdo something once, you can do it again. We shall soon find out; it's notlong to the opener. I can't wait.

Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the inauguralRed Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 14, 2008. Tickets can be purchasedeither online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time; on thephone by calling (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317)492-6700 locally between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; orvisiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office on the firstfloor of the IMS Administration Building at 4790 W. 16th St. inIndianapolis from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All tickets for this event are three-day tickets, with both reserved andgeneral admission seating available.