Misano MotoGP: Nicky Hayden hopes for luck change

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Nicky Hayden is hoping a drastic change in luck can boost his hopes of a top five MotoGP world championship finish in Misano this weekend.

The 2006 world champion has an awful record in Misano and has only finished one race since ’07.

Hayden was caught up in a first corner tangle with Randy de Puniet in 2007 and ran into the gravel trap before recovering to finish 13th.

A serious heel injury suffered in a supermoto incident then forced him to miss the 2008 clash and he was again the innocent victim of a first corner incident last season.

Home favourite Alex de Angelis took out Hayden and Colin Edwards.

The 29-year-old, who claimed his first front row start for Ducati at his home race in Indianapolis last weekend, said: “I’ve not had a lot of luck here. The first year I got caught up with de Puniet and some guys and in the second year I didn’t ride because of my foot.

"And last year I also had more drama at turn one. I’ve never really done a race here so this year is going to be important to qualify well and get to the first corner well.”

Hayden has claimed six top six finishes so far in 2010 and is locked in a close struggle for third in the championship.

Only 17-points split Andrea Dovizioso in third and Hayden in seventh and he said: “I’m still missing something because the front group is so strong. Last week at Indy was the first time I qualified on the front row for Ducati and that’s really important.

"If I want to hang with them in the race I at least need to start with them. The bike is improving and the team is doing a good job but on my side we’re missing something. 

"We can still improve the bike but catching the group at the front right now is so tough. But we have all the pieces to do it.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt