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Q&A: Nicky Hayden.

After six seasons in MotoGP with Repsol Honda, highlighted by victory in the 2006 world championship, Nicky Hayden became Casey Stoner's third different Ducati Marlboro team-mate in as many seasons for 2009.

It was a formidable task, given the prior experiences of Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri with the 800cc Desmosedici. And Hayden wasn't only changing teams and bikes, but also tyres - having spent his entire career with Michelin - and just as MotoGP slashed winter testing.

The 2009 season started with a worrying twelfth from 16th on the grid at Qatar, following a big qualifying accident, and Hayden was then taken out on lap one of the Japanese GP. However, steady improvements since have taken the American to a best of fourth on the grid (Germany) and fifth in a race (America).

For comparison, Melandri also claimed a best race result of fifth last year, but didn't start higher than eleventh on the grid. Hayden, who has scored 46 points, is now just five points behind Melandri's total for the entire 2008 season.

During Wednesday's London media launch for the British Grand Prix, sat down with Hayden to discuss his first nine races as a Ducati rider - including his progress with the bike, the 'myths' surrounding the Desmosedici, life alongside Casey Stoner, where he stands regarding the 2010 season and more..

Following your first ride on the Ducati, during testing at Valencia last year, if someone had told you that after nine races you'd have qualified a best of fourth and finished a best of fifth, what would you have said?

Nicky Hayden:
I'd have been mad at them! I knew after the first day it was going to be hard but I hoped to have a better season up to now than I've had. It's been a lot of work but I'm quite proud of the team and everybody. The way we've hung in there and made progress. We've made some real progress this season. The level now in MotoGP is so high it's been tough for us. But I've got a smile on my face again and I'm looking forward to the second half of the season.

Has Nicky Hayden changed to suit the bike, or has the bike changed to suit Nicky Hayden?

Nicky Hayden:
It's been a combination. I've had to adjust my style a lot and learn a lot. Just to understand and get a feel for the bike. Also the team, they did a lot of work to change the bike to suit me better. We've changed the riding position in the last few weeks and that's helped a lot. Just spending more time on the bike and with the team has been a big help.

There are conflicting opinions about riding the Ducati. Some people say you should just pin the throttle wide open but others, including Niccolo Canepa, say you have to be very gentle with the throttle...

Nicky Hayden:

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Hayden, Catalunya MotoGP 2009
Hayden, German MotoGP 2009
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP 2016
Reddng, Petrucci, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden after crash, Australian MotoGP 2016
jones, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Petrucci Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Barbera, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Miller Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Pol Espargaro, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl, Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016

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johno - Unregistered

July 22, 2009 8:44 PM

ah, let the Nicky bashing begin. I always forget how many motogp 'experts' are out there. I bet you all have been behind the scenes in the ducati garage and know extacly what is going on. Give me a break!! You are all losers and if you could even sniff at the level of talent Nicky has, you probably would have pulled a Melandri by now and just up and quit. Get a life and post somewhere else. We are tired of hearing about it. In the US, we call you armchair quarterbacks. People with no athletic ability who seem intent on pointing out the shortcomings of those who have made it.

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