Hard work paying off, says Nicky Hayden

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Nicky Hayden says he is finally reaping the reward for all his hard work in trying to be a success for Ducati.

The popular American had a wretched debut season with the Bologna factory where he struggled to make any impact on the GP9 machine.

But the 2006 world champion has been a revelation so far in 2010, Hayden claiming his third successive fourth position in the French GP at Le Mans last weekend.

Twice in the opening three races the 28-year-old has finished within touching distance of the podium with excellent performances in Qatar and Le Mans.

Both times he was narrowly beaten to the podium by Andrea Dovizioso, the man who took Hayden’s seat in Honda’a official factory team last season.

But Hayden said he never doubted that he would be able to prove his competitiveness for Ducati and he’s already scored just one-point less than he managed in the opening eight races of 2009.

Hayden told MCN: “Last year I always believed I could run at the front with the right package, the right feeling and the right circumstances.

"But it was great that I could finally find it. I got to thank the team because you can’t do it on your own. To make up 55 seconds like I did in Jerez, it is not just all about the rider.”

Hayden said discovering his form and confidence on the GP10 was more to do with taming his own aggressive riding style than the new smoother Big Bang Desmosedici engine helping him.

He added: “I’ve got a lot smoother. This bike is an animal still and it can be quite aggressive. But the whole 800 deal means you’ve got to be smooth and not try and over ride it and use the electronics and let them help you.

"I wouldn’t say I’m better. If anything my natural ability has been taken away. What I do naturally on this bike doesn’t really work. I’ve adapted but I wouldn’t say it has made me a better rider.”

Hayden is currently fifth in the overall standings just three-points behind Dovizioso in third going into the next race in Mugello on June 6.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt