Nicky Hayden desperate to give Michelin successful farewell

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Nicky Hayden is hoping he can help Michelin bow out of the MotoGP world championship on a high with just two races of the campaign remaining.

Michelin will quit MotoGP after the Malaysia and Valencia races having opted not to bid for the right to be the exclusive supplier under a controversial new single tyre rule, which has been adopted for 2009.

The clamour for the single tyre rule started again when Dani Pedrosa sensationally switched to rivals Bridgestone in early September after Michelin had suffered major disasters with performance in Laguna Seca and Brno either side of the summer break.

Repsol Honda rider Hayden was one of Michelin’s biggest critics, but he believes the French factory has fought back from stinging criticism in recent races.

Hayden has been on the podium in two of the last three races and has outperformed team-mate Pedrosa since his move to Bridgestone.

And the American is hoping he can give Michelin a rousing send off in Sepang this weekend, followed by the season’s finale in Valencia.

The 27-year-old said: “They (Michelin) have taken a lot of heat and criticism but I like the underdog and they really are working hard. When they really had some bad races the only thing to do was try and knuckle down and they went back to some things they were doing more at the beginning of the season.

“They tried hard and it is really nice to see the company taking pride and wanting to go out strong. It would be nice to give them a good result. Some of the flak they got they deserved but when they do well you have to give them credit too. Hopefully we can give them a few good results to sign off with.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt