US MotoGP: No early birthday cheer for Nicky Hayden

1 of 1

Nicky Hayden turned 31 today (Monday) but there were no early celebrations after the American ended a tough home race weekend at Laguna Seca in sixth position.

Hayden might have equalled his best result of 2012 having claimed sixth for the fourth time in 10 races, but the Kentucky rider was in no mood to celebrate after a heavy defeat on home soil.

Hayden, who had come close to grabbing his first podium of the season in Mugello just two weeks ago, never looked like repeating that challenge in California.

He ended the 32-lap encounter in front of a large crowd of nearly 53,000 home fans a massive 26.902s off race winner Casey Stoner and the high of signing a new one-year Ducati deal at Laguna Seca on Friday already seemed a distant memory.

The 2006 world champion told MCN: “When you have won here twice it is pretty tough to get beaten by 27 seconds. I felt like I rode the bike as hard as I could but I was really having a hard time getting it turned and was running wide everywhere. I tried to bridge the gap to the second group but wasn’t able to match their lap time consistently.”

Hayden secured sixth having passed German Stefan Bradl on lap 27 and that was at least one positive aspect of an otherwise disappointing weekend.

He added: “I was happy to beat Bradl because I haven’t beaten him at the last couple of races. But the weekend was a little frustrating because at Mugello we thought we were onto something that closed the gap and this week we were along way off. I thought we could have put up a better fight here.”

The bright spot of a tough weekend had inevitably been the signing of his new 2013 deal and he said: “I was really pumped when I signed the deal, plus I thought we had made a good step with the bike and that made me happier still. Sixth place equalled my best result but there is no way we can be happy or satisfied with that. It is hard to go on a summer break after being beaten by nearly 27 seconds and be positive.”

For nine pages of coverage from the Laguna Seca MotoGP round, see the August 1 issue of Motor Cycle News.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt