Nicky Hayden: “We’ve got six races to go so every race is huge”
The Repsol Honda Team comes to Brno in a commanding position, with Nicky Hayden leading the riders’ points standings and Dani Pedrosa in second place after their dominant one-two finish at the last round in Laguna Seca, USA.
Hayden’s brilliant 2006 campaign has taken him to a 34-point lead in the World Championship with six races of the season to go. So far this year he has won two races on his evolution RC211V, finished off the podium only twice, and has scored points in every race – a combination of speed and consistency that his rivals have found impossible to match. If Hayden comes home in the top three this weekend it will be his 14th podium finish from the previous 16 MotoGP races. The Repsol Honda star likes the Brno circuit and started on the front row of the grid last year before fighting to a close fifth place in the race, just 4.3s behind the winner. Since his stunning win at last month’s U.S. Grand Prix, Hayden has celebrated his 25th birthday and continued his training programme at home in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Nicky Hayden: “Winning at Laguna was awesome. Then I had a few weeks off and it was nice to get home, regroup and get myself ready for this title run. I’ve just been stuck into my normal programme, trying to prepare myself the best I can. We’ve got six races to go so every race is huge. But this weekend is just another race where we have to use every minute of all the sessions to qualify well and be ready to roll when the light goes out. I quite enjoy this time of the season and Brno is a track that I like. It normally makes for some good racing with the long straightaways combined with a lot of passing places. I’m really looking forward to being back at the track with my boys and hopefully we’ll come out of the gate strongly on Friday morning and put together a good package for two-o-clock on Sunday. It’s really time to get it done.”
Dani Pedrosa goes to the challenging Brno circuit with an impressive record, having won the 250cc race here last year and taken victory in 2003 on his way to the 125cc World Championship. This year the 20-year-old Spaniard is faced with learning another track on a MotoGP bike, but having taken four pole positions and two race wins so far in a stunning debut season, few will be surprised to see him at the front once again this weekend.
Dani Pedrosa: “This track has been good for me in the past, so I’ll be hoping it’s the same situation on the MotoGP bike. A lot will depend on how the other riders go here because after the break everybody has more energy inside them, so for sure the other riders will be trying really hard. Brno is a fast track which will make it physically demanding on this bike, and also tough for the Michelin tyres. Normally the weather isn’t stable here so this could interfere with the practice time as we try to get a good set-up. My position in the championship is not so bad, but my goal is to try to keep my rhythm and my speed and finish the remaining six races at a good level – if I do that I will be happy at the end of the year.”