Nicky Hayden was in jubilant mood after scoring only his second Ducati podium with a brilliant last lap overtake on world championship favourite Jorge Lorenzo at the Motorland Aragon.
The Kentucky rider spent the entire race shadowing Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine before the 29-year-old attacked on the final lap to clinch his first podium since his home race in Indianapolis 13 months ago.
Hayden said afterwards it was his determination not to finish fourth for the fifth time this season that spurred him onto make the last lap assault on Lorenzo.
In doing so he cost Lorenzo his 100 per cent podium record in 2010, but the 2006 world champion said:
“It feels great to be back on the podium and I really enjoyed myself today. The bike has been working really well all weekend and in the race I was able to get a good start and stay with Jorge.
"There wasn't really anywhere I could get a wheel in and over the last couple of laps he pushed hard to get away but I decided that fourth wasn't good enough for me. I did a bit of a backyard move in the chicane over there and managed to hold him off to the line.
"I’ve been fourth a lot this year and that last lap I had to make it happen. I knew he wasn’t going to let me through by making a mistake. It was really important for me to make it happen. In Qatar I made a pretty good made on Dovizioso to do it but I didn’t get to the line. I couldn’t just wait and follow him home in fourth though.”
Hayden denied he had left his attack so late so that he wouldn’t face a counter attack from the Spaniard.
And he said it hadn’t crossed his mind about making a move that might have taken out Lorenzo in front of a partisan home crowd of 70,124 fans.
He added: “I do think when you’re fighting for a title you deserve that respect. I’ve fought for titles and those guys deserve maybe a little bit. It is the right thing to do but I got sponsors and a team that support me, so you can’t give it to him.”
Asked why Ducati’s GP10 had gelled so well with the challenging Motorland Aragon track, Hayden said:
“It was easy on the tyres and the Big Bang engine worked quite well round here. It was quite smooth in those last corners. I don’t know if the track suited our bike so much as much as it is a track that suits Casey and me.
"It is fast and flowing, blind entries with some undulation like tracks we’ve gone well on in the past. The track is quite smooth too and me and Casey have struggled a lot this year on the bumps."