GP champ's pain fades

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Nicky Hayden is confident that his right shoulder will be restored to full fitness in time for the start of the 2007 MotoGP world championship in Qatar on March 10, 2007.

Hayden returned to action in Sepang recently having undergone surgery at the end of November on the collarbone he broke when team-mate Dani Pedrosa controversially knocked him off in the Estoril GP back in September.

Hayden kept the injury a secret for the final round in Valencia, where he claimed a dramatic world championship success over Yamaha rival Valentino Rossi.

He said: “I definitely plan on being 100% for round one. It actually felt better in Sepang than I thought it would. 

“I went out and rode supermoto twice before I went to Malaysia just to check it out and the first day I didn’t feel too good and the second day I felt alright.”

The recovering shoulder prevented Hayden from doing any long stints in Malaysia, but he is hoping to try in Australia this week. 

He added: “ I would have liked to have done a race simulation in Sepang but with my shoulder I don’t have the strength, the most I did was ten laps in a row, it’s not ideal. 

“But the doctor didn’t want me to get too crazy, it’s healing and feels pretty good and is not really hurting my lap times but I don’t want to set it back. Sometimes shoulders take a while. Hopefully at Phillip Island it’s not so much hard braking and it won’t be a problem to do a longer run.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt