Hayden: Everyone was out for blood.
Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden provided arguably the biggest shock of the Italian Grand Prix when he came within 0.7secs of beating home heroes Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi after a furious 23 lap battle.
"After Le Mans I needed to come back this weekend and answer the bell, and today I did that. I didn't help myself with the start - I mean there's no excuses for getting a start like that!" smiled Nicky, who slipped from fourth on the grid to seventh at the end of lap one.
"Everyone was out for blood and there were some great battles all the way down the field. Everyone was trying hard but nobody did anything too crazy. Melandri came up under me one time and I got into the corner hotter than I had all weekend - and he was in two bikes hotter than me so I didn't think he was going to keep it on the island!
"With the atmosphere here and the crowd, these are the days you really enjoy. I thought that I might be able to steal a win and spoil the occasion for these Italians. There's no excuses though - the truth is I just couldn't get it done.
"Me and Dani were able to go fastest in warm-up, we answered the bell after a poor Le Mans, and we made a few changes overnight from Saturday to Sunday. It was nice to be back on the podium but as always you want to be at the top," admitted Nicky, who has now lost his world championship lead to Capirossi - although the pair are actually equal on points.
After the race, Hayden raised a smile during the podium celebrations when he grabbed a red wig from one of the Alice podium girls.