Hayden turns to US legend

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Under pressure Nicky Hayden has turned to American racing legend Freddie Spencer in a bid to help prevent the defence of his MotoGP world championship crown turning into an embarrassing disaster.

Hayden continued to falter on Honda’s struggling new factory RC212V contender in Istanbul on Sunday when he finished seventh.

He has yet to claim a top six on the new V4 and revealed after his latest setback that he has sought solace with American legend Spencer in Las Vegas during the three-week Easter break.

Spencer, who holds the remarkable distinction of being the only rider in history to win a 500 and 250 GP title in the same season,

Hayden said: “Yeah I did go and see him. I talk to Freddie because he watches the races and stuff.

“I’ve been going to Freddie’s since my first year at Honda. Freddie has always been a big help and we had three weeks off and I didn’t want to just not ride.

“During the summer break last year I went to Freddie’s and rode so its nothing unusual. He’s a pretty sharp guy and you win three world championships and you don’t back into those.

“I can definitely relate to him pretty good. It’s always hard to relate 100 per cent but he’s one of the better guys. He’s definitely pretty thorough.

Hayden denied he’s specifically sought Spencer’s advice and input to help him adapt more to the 800 style of high corner speed, though he did ride Honda CBR600 and FireBlade 1000 bikes in Las Vegas.

The 25-year-old added: “You talk to some former riders but Freddie really pays a lot of attention to technique, riding position and braking position but if you talk to Mick Doohan all he talks about is more the mental side of racing. Freddie is a little bit more articulate as far as bike set-up and things like that.”

Asked if they had discussed his current issues with the RC212V he said: “A little bit but Freddie is not the kind of guy just to make something up to say something. Right now it’s not like I’m two seconds off the pace and I’m trying to find out how to shift gears all over again, its three or four tenths and its hard to see that from your couch.”


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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt