Honda Racing Team riders Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark have arrived in Malaysia ahead of this weekend’s sixth round of the Superbike World Championship keen to try out the newly-resurfaced Sepang Circuit.
The 34-year-old Hayden knows the Sepang track well, having raced there 13 times in his MotoGP career, but is yet to get a podium in Malaysia. On six occasions, he has finished in fourth place, though.
In the current WSBK rider standings, Hayden is seventh with 82 points while his teammate Van der Mark is fourth with 102 points from five events.
In an interview with the official WSBK site, Hayden said that he knows what to expect from the Sepang track and is keen to see how the tyres handle the newly-resurfaced track.
“In Malaysia, motorcycle racing is becoming more and more popular, especially as motorcycles are increasingly being used as the main vehicle of transportation in the country,” said Hayden.
“The track is one I know well, it’s big, long, wide and has a bit of everything. It’ll be interesting to try it again after the recent resurfacing and to see how the tyres will perform with the new asphalt, whether it’ll increase or lower the tyre wear and the general grip.
“This is a top-class venue and the event is always great fun for riders and fans, so I can’t wait to get started.”
— WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) May 10, 2016
Van der Mark told the WSBK site that after the much-needed resurfacing at Sepang, he feels they should be challenging at the front of the grid at a track where they performed well last year.
“I’m looking forward to Sepang and curious to try out the new track surface. The circuit has put together a great deal of work on resurfacing and reprofiling some of the corners,” said Van der Mark.
“The new surface is much needed, as the old asphalt was a bit too bumpy last year. I’m confident that we will be able to return towards the front of the field, as last year the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP performed really well on this track.
“Compared to Imola, this is a completely different track and our base set-up should work well here. We are ready to get going and are hungry for some good results.”