The American Honda Moto2 team has just wrapped up two successful days of testing their Honda Moriwaki MD600 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, in preparation for the team’s debut at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on 27-29 August.
The team, including rider Roger Lee Hayden, team manager Kevin Schwantz and the Erion Racing crew lead by Kevin Erion, came together to further develop the Honda 600-powered race machine and they made good progress despite the extremely taxing weather conditions.
It didn’t take long for Hayden to get comfortable and lay down good lap times in testing.
“Our test at Barber started out a little slow in the hot temperatures but by the end we’d made some really good progress,” said Hayden. “It’s great to be able to get data from the bike while riding on a real racetrack. It gives the team a good base to work with.
“Working with Kevin Schwantz is great. It’s great having someone of his stature watching over and advising me, someone who knows exactly what I’m doing as a rider. Sometimes what you think you’re doing is very different compared to what you actually are doing on the track and Kevin sees that.
“Being critiqued by a world champion like Kevin means I get amazing riding advice, one rider to another. I think this experience is going to make me a better rider not just for this particular project but for my entire career.”
Team manager and former 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Schwantz was happy with the progress and determination shown by Hayden at the test.
“The conditions were really, really hot and very humid but Roger’s work ethic shined through and we achieved a lot,” said Schwantz. “Roger’s not afraid of hard work and that’s part of the reason we chose him to be on this team.
“He doesn’t shy away from hard work and that showed through as he strung together fast laps in miserably hot and humid conditions. Roger was very fast on the track and even though he had fairly used tyres on the bike at the end of the day Thursday, he still managed to put down lap times as fast as he’s ever been on this track.”
Erion is likewise pleased with how quickly the team has jelled together and with the wealth of 600cc motorcycle knowledge that’s embedded in the team.
“Our team has so much 600cc experience and this bike is fundamentally a 600cc Honda motorcycle,” Erion said. “There are a few little things about the bike that are different but they’re all in a positive manner. Moriwaki did a great job building the chassis and it’s easy to work on.
“Our job now is mainly to get Roger comfortable on it so he can go fast and the Moriwaki platform seems to be working well. I have the utmost confidence in Roger and the crew. They are all working well together and striving for the common goal of achieving great results.
“The test went well as we didn’t have any issues or problems per se, we just kept moving forward every time Roger took to the track. We definitely leave Barber with a lot of confidence in Roger. Our next test will be at Indy a week prior to the race and we will have two days on the track.
“We actually have a disadvantage compared to the other teams in the series because they’ve been racing in the series all year and know their set-ups. But with the experience our team has gained here and with two days on the Indy track before the race, we think that experience should level the playing field up quite a lot.”