Jerez MotoGP: Nicky Hayden cautious despite fast start
Nicky Hayden has insisted he will not get swept away on a new wave of optimism after his brilliant first race performance in Qatar.
Hayden heads into this weekend’s Spanish GP in Jerez buoyant after his stunning fourth place finish in the Middle East earlier this month.
Although he narrowly missed claiming a second podium finish for Ducati, many felt his Doha display was his best for the Bologna factory as he finished less than two seconds behind eventual winner Valentino Rossi.
Hayden’s positive start of the new GP10 has bolstered hopes that he can emerge as a regular front-runner in 2010, but the Kentucky rider is refusing to get carried away.
he 2006 world champion said: “I wouldn’t say it was great but it was a good way to start the season to be up near the front and feeling good on the bike.
"This is just the first race and while it does make me confident, we can’t get over confident. I’ve got to try and back it up this weekend otherwise it looks like a fluke.”
Despite his cautious approach though, Hayden is confident that he can pose a serious podium threat on a consistent basis in 2010.
Hayden added: “I know in Qatar a lot of people expected me to fade but already from the end of last year I felt we had a good direction and I was making some progress. But I couldn’t really put it together.
"I feel a lot more comfortable and confident than I was a year ago. I’m not going to open my mouth just yet though and say something silly.”
Hayden denied that his sudden surge in form was all down to Ducati’s new GP10 Big Bang motor, which has helped make the Bologna factory’s 2010 contender an easier package to ride.
Hayden said: “The bike is working well. We have a different engine this year and a different chassis but I think more than anything it’s just the team understands me a lot better now.
"Communication between me and everybody is a lot better now and we’re making progress a lot quicker.
"Second year on the bike helps me a lot with all the data but I’ve got to thank Ducati because they have stuck behind me and helped me a lot this winter.”