Nicky Hayden frustrated by Michelin grip problems in Laguna Seca

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Nicky Hayden’s hopes of a third home win at Laguna Seca appear to be fading already as he suffered major issues with rear grip on the opening day of free practice.

The former world champion finished second overall on the timesheets but he said his best lap of 1.22.634 masked a multitude of problems. The most severe of which are related to his Michelin tyres, with Hayden struggling to get any of his hard compound tyres working.

Hayden, a two-time winner a Laguna Seca in 2005 and ’06, said: “It’s been quite a tough day, to be honest. We’ve been trying to work around a few problems the best we can.

"We’re not completely happy with our tyre options this week, it’s tough saving some for the race, which makes it a tough weekend. This is a track I’ve gone well at in the past, but none of that counts now, I need to do it again.

"This afternoon the team’s done a good job, made a few changes to try and make the tyres work better. At the end I got going a little bit better but still the gap to Stoner is so far.

"We’ll keep working hard and use all the time we’ve got. The support I’ve got here is unbelievable, man. I just can’t believe how these fans treat me. We’ll keep working hard and try and give the fans something so they’re not headed to the gate with five laps to go!”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt