US MotoGP: Nicky Hayden looking for ’09 best in Laguna

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Nicky Hayden is hopeful that he can beat his best Ducati result in his home race in Laguna Seca this weekend.

The Kentucky rider enjoyed his best race for the Bologna factory in Assen last weekend, Hayden finishing in a creditable eighth place to claim his first top ten finish after a torrid start on the factory GP9 machine.

Hayden, who has won two of his three MotoGP victories on home soil at Laguna Seca in 2005 and ’06, said his optimism at bettering his eighth in Holland having struggled with a loose left handlebar in Assen.

The 2006 MotoGP world champion said: “I’m optimistic. I know the track well but now everybody knows the track pretty well, so I can’t really make any predictions.

"Sure I’m positive about the weekend and going home might be something. I really believe once we get the whole bike, team, everything sorted we can do it. Casey (Stoner) proves the bike is capable of it.

"We just got to keep working toward putting all the pieces together. I’m not sure that home crowd’s going to be worth two seconds, but it’s got to help.”

Despite Assen being only his second top ten finish in the opening seven races, Hayden said he was still relishing the prospect of racing in Laguna Seca – his first MotoGP race on home soil away from Honda.

He added: “I’m looking forward to Laguna. Do I expect a miracle because I’m going home? No, but I think I can go there and be competitive. I need to qualify better and try to keep getting closer to the front.

"Being realistic, there are a couple guys up front that are not on my radar at the moment. But that second group is where my target is.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt