Sunday, March 23, 2014

Team Drive M7 Aspar's Hayden 8th, Aoyama 11th in Debut Ride at MotoGP Qatar Season-Opener

23/03/14. 01 GP QATAR - LOSAIL - RACE                                                                                                      


Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama score top ten finishes in first ride with new team

If there was one thing that the 2014 season promised it was excitement and the first race of the season did not disappoint, with a race that saw Jorge Lorenzo burst into the lead only to crash out, followed by Stefan Bradl on the ninth lap. With the Spaniard and the German out of the race Valentino Rossi took control with a group of four riders behind him (Márquez, Pedrosa, Bautista and Smith). Bautista and Smith would eventually slide out of the group and as Pedrosa settled for third place there was an intense battle for the win between Márquez and Rossi that saw the 'apprentice' once again overcome the 'sorcerer'. 

DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama started the new season in strong fashion with top ten finishes, the American overcoming the challenge of Pol Espargaró before battling with Scott Redding in the latter stages, eventually settling for eight place. Hiroshi Aoyama took advantage of a big step forward with his set-up yesterday to take eleventh place and pick up five important points following a race-long battle with Yonny Hernández.

8th Nicky Hayden: “We had to change our start procedure tonight and it wasn't easy, there were riders everywhere but I managed to get into a better rhythm than the test and practice here, setting consistent 1.56s. I tried everything to stay with Espargaró, but in the end I had worn out the left hand side of the tyre and ran off. It ended up a straight battle between me and Scott, we passed each other a few times and he got me on the line. A few riders crashed but we made it to the end and picked up eighth. We set a great pace at the start of the race, now we need to work on the second half and try to improve on what we have learnt here. I want to thank the team, Honda and all the sponsors for their efforts. Now we need to look ahead to the next race.”

11th Hiroshi Aoyama: “It was a tough race because as the night progressed the temperatures dropped and the feeling with the tyres worsened, which is why so many riders crashed. Personally I chose the softest option tyre and it was difficult to adapt my pace according to the temperature but I got in a fight with Hernández and even though my pace was better than his I couldn't get away. If I didn't get embroiled with him I might have finished higher up but anyway I am happy because it has been a tough weekend and the team has done a great job. We found a good setting yesterday and it has paid off today with eleventh place.”



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