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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 07-13-2006, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Hayden Talks from Germany

Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden can’t wait for next week's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the site of his first MotoGP victory. But there’s the small matter of this week’s 10th round of the MotoGP World Championship on the challenging Sachsenring which he has to get through first.

“We say that every week, how important they are and they are all important,” Hayden said on the eve of the German Grand Prix. “So I’m excited obviously going to Laguna in two weeks, my home GP, be a lot of fun. But also here. After the week off, it’s felt like a long time. I was ready to get back here and excited, so hopefully this weekend we can come out strong Friday morning and it’s going to be important. The last few weeks we’ve definitely fell behind early. So that’s the plan, come out strong Friday morning and try to build on it as the weekend goes.”

Hayden arrived in Germany after a much needed week off following races on three consecutive weekends in Europe. The highlight was his win in the Dutch TT at Assen. The lowlight came a week later when he struggled to qualify 11th and went on to finish seventh, losing a chunk of World Championship points. Still, he leads the championship and will when he arrives at Laguna, regardless of this week’s finish.

Hayden spent much of the Donington Park weekend trying to adapt to a new chassis package that never came around.

“We needed a few bits and pieces, but it’s too big a change, trying a completely different swingarm, chassis set-up; it was a lot on a race weekend,” he said. “It would have been nice to have a few days testing, but that was not the case. On the one hand I was glad to get something that we thought might help, but the stuff wasn’t tested enough. It’s good to see HRC working, but it turned out it went against us that weekend. Our plan tomorrow is just to stay with what we know and what we’ve been using all year and see how the weekend starts off.”

The Kentuckian later admitted that “nothing went silky smooth for us that weekend. It was just caught a lot of glitches. Bottom line is I was losing a lot of time in T-4. In the race I was actually moving up quite good and I felt like I was getting faster and picking up where I’d been struggling and made a grade school error trying to make a move and ran off the track. But I recovered and fought back some places and got back up to fifth. It wasn’t like I put a goose egg or nothing as far as the points. Wasn’t fun. Running around mid-pack is not going to cut it, so, if I want to be a serious contender, so hopefully this week we’ll fight back.”

The controversy over whether Hayden prefers his smaller RC211V to the more standard version ridden by teammate Dani Pedrosa won’t go away. Asked about it on Thursday afternoon, he said, “If the bike was so good I’d try to get them to bring out one Mick’s (Doohan) old 500’s or something. But, I mean I don’t know. I mean at the beginning of the year this is the road we chose. This is what we’ve got, so we’re just going to do the best we can with what we’ve got. at the beginning of the year I was faster on the old bike and I wanted to ride it and we understood there would be a lot of improvements and new stuff. So it was a risky move.”

The Sachsenring is two different courses; slower and tighter in the beginning of the lap and faster at the end. Hayden was on the pole last year and was leading the race when a red flag came out. He wasn’t as strong on the re-start and ended up third.

“For sure, it’s definitely two quite different ends. I like it, I mean the first bit’s really tight kind of just follow the leader. But after that it’s quite good. It can be quite bumpy. But the fifth gear dropaway corner is really fun when it’s right and the bike’s working. Hopefully, the result’s a lot better than Donington.”

The highlight of the season comes next weekend in Monterey. Hayden will be in Los Angeles earlier in the week for the star-studded premiere of “The Doctor, the Tornado, and the Kentucky Kid,” the film of last year’s U.S. GP. Then it’s up the highway to Monterey to try to replicate the magic of his first win.

“Last year at Laguna was really special, so sure I’m looking forward to that, going back to Laguna,” he said. “The track’s made a lot of changes. So see what it’s like. Should be quite a lot different if some of the pictures are right, so that’ll be interesting. But Laguna’s going to be cool. Definitely, back on my home turf and back with my people. You know America, the race was quite a good success, so I think they’re getting excited for it again. It’s really good to see MotoGP getting more popular in America. The track’s put a lot of money back in to make the track hopefully a lot safer, which is good. hopefully the race just keeps blowing up and getting bigger and bigger.”

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