Nicky Hayden expresses qualifying concern

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American Nicky Hayden has admitted he’s worried about his failure to master Bridgestone’s new soft tyre as the start of new MotoGP campaign draws closer.

Hayden fears his failure to quickly adapt to the soft compound option he tested in Malaysia and Qatar recently will undermine his chances of qualifying high up the grid.

Although super-soft qualifying tyres are no longer used in MotoGP, riders posted their times for a grid position using the softest race tyre available.

But Hayden has struggled to make a new version work on his factory Ducati GP10 and the 2006 world champion told MCN: “It is a big concern because qualifying now is so important.

“And now we don’t have a lot of tyres, if this is going to the spec of soft tyre I need to understand what is going on because I didn’t like it in Malaysia and I definitely didn’t like it in Qatar.

“In the past with the Bridgestone soft tyre it was no problem for me. In fact I raced it when nobody else did.

“But it’s a different family. It’s not just a softer rubber, it’s a different tyre completely but overall it’s softer.”

Asked to describe his specific issue with the soft tyre, Hayden explained: “I can’t get it to a good temperature and it makes the bike move.

“On the exit it has good grip initially but when it does breakaway it is very aggressive and it upsets the bike.

“It transfers to the front so by the time I get to the next corner I have to shut off early, let the bike settle and then brake. They said nobody else has that problem so it’s a Nicky problem I guess.”

Check out the April 7 issue of MCN for a free 32-page glossy preview of the 2010 MotoGP campaign.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt