Valencia MotoGP: Nicky Hayden frustrated not to challenge more

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Nicky Hayden has admitted large parts of the 2010 MotoGP campaign have been frustrating, despite the American producing a vastly improved performance compared to his first season with Ducati last year.

Hayden goes into this weekend’s final round in Valencia vying for sixth place with Texan Ben Spies after the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider crashed on the sighting lap in Estoril last weekend. 

Hayden has scored 11 top six finishes so far in 2010 but has only once finished on the podium when he took third at the Motorland Aragon track in September.

And the Kentucky rider, who claimed the 2006 world title in a dramatic final round shootout with Valentino Rossi at Valencia, said: “It hasn’t been a bad season but not spectacular. Certainly my goal wasn't sixth place but this year has been a big step from last year and I learned a lot.

"I enjoyed parts of it but it has been frustrating not to be able to go to that next step. It's not an end of the world season for me but it's not over yet.”

Hayden also found time to joke about the imminent arrival of nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi to Ducati.

The Italian will test a GP11 machine on Tuesday and having been asked for the umpteenth time what he thought about partnering Rossi next season, he quipped: "Last time we were team-mates I took him under my wing a little bit.

"I was coming from America with a lot of experience and I think I helped him a lot and I showed him the way and I was really open, didn't mind sharing my information with him and I hope to do the same with him this time. I helped him a lot with his race craft because he really needed some tweaking on that.

"Truthfully though it's an exciting future at Ducati for the people and fans with Valentino coming. It’s good for MotoGP and I'm looking forward to it."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt