Aragon MotoGP: Nicky Hayden vows to fight through Ducati struggles

Published: 19 September 2011

Nicky Hayden said he would not get too disheartened by yet another nightmare MotoGP race for Ducati’s factory squad at the Motorland Aragon track in Spain.

The American finished in a lowly seventh place, while Valentino Rossi was only 10th in a low key debut for Ducati’s new aluminium chassis that the nine-times world champion raced for the first time.

The 2010 Motorland Aragon race was the best of the season for Ducati, with Casey Stoner romping to victory and Hayden finishing third.

But the 2006 world champion was a massive 25 seconds slower than his overall race time set 12 months ago.

Hayden admitted it was frustrating to see a raft of radical new parts fail to move Ducati any closer to challenging Honda and Yamaha’s domination of the 2011 world championship.

He told MCN: “We’re not going to stay at home and give up.”

Hayden said he expected the new aluminium frame to have given Rossi much more confidence with his Desmosedici machine.

The new frame was engineered to try and solve some of Ducati’s severe front-end issues, but Rossi’s early weekend optimism quickly dwindled and he finished in a lowly 10th.

He did start from pitlane after incurring a penalty for exceeding his six-engine limit for the season but Hayden said: “I expected him to be faster after the comments they had. He was pretty excited when I talked to him on Thursday. Also it is hard for him coming in and trying to learn a new chassis.”

Hayden’s race was largely dictated by a rear grip issue, which also blunted compatriot Ben Spies’ pace and that of Rossi.

He said: “It was really bad for me. I knew I was going to have some tyre issues and after about five laps I felt a really big drop and that is strange because lately Bridgestone has been too good.

"The rain on Saturday night took a lot of the rubber off the track and the cooler conditions caused it to spin too much and I used up a lot of rubber. The right side of my tyre was completely destroyed.

"The left side I knew we’d be in trouble but the right side we didn’t expect it. It was giving me problems on entry and I was running wide everywhere.”

For more on Ducati’s new aluminium frame and all the news from the Motorland Aragon race, see Wednesday’s MCN.