Nicky Hayden looking for upturn in fortunes
The factory Honda rider arrives at Laguna Seca, scene of two of his three MotoGP victories, desperate for a result after problems in his last two races.
Hayden’s hopes of a first rostrum finish in nearly a year were crushed in Assen when his new pneumatic valve Honda RC212V ran out of fuel just 50 metres from the finish line as he held third.
And last weekend in a rain-hit German race, he suffered severe rear grip issues and was distraught after finshing two laps down in last place.
The Kentucky rider said: “I’m excited to go to Laguna, even if we go there on a bit of a run of bad luck. Hopefully things will turn around for us, it would be a nice place to get everything to roll from Friday through to Sunday. Whatever happens I’ll just keep pushing.”
Laguna is by far Hayden’s most successful MotoGP circuit having won twice at the spectacular California track.
He added: “Laguna certainly has a special place in my heart. The track itself is like one big lap, it’s not like all different sections, a lot of the turns lead into one another, so you’ve really got to put it all together.
"Like if you screw up the Corkscrew you miss the next three or four corners. It’s a very technical track and I love it.
"Racing your home race is always a special deal and something I don’t take lightly. The first couple of years I came to MotoGP we didn’t have a US GP so I think that makes me cherish it, treasure it even more.
I wouldn’t say it’s my home track as far as knowing it goes because the MotoGP guys have had three years there, so I don’t think it has any advantage for me anymore. But that home crowd’s got to be worth something.
"Last year we struggled, it was our worse place for tyres all year. But I’m excited now because I’ve seen how much Michelin have improved at other tracks this year.”