Q:
We've got about 10 minutes with Nicky Hayden. First of all, Nicky, on behalf of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there's been few individuals who have done more to promote our upcoming Red Bull MotoGP event here. We're delighted to have you, the 2006 MotoGP champion here at Indianapolis. You had a brake problem out there?

Nicky Hayden:
Yeah, actually the rear brakes weren't working. They just flew the bike in from Japan. I'm sure it's been setting for a while. The front brake was working fine but the front brakes are carbon. When they're cold, they don't work. So that's OK. Got the heart rate going a little bit, woke me up, but everything else on it was perfect.

Q:
How fast did you make it around the track?

Nicky Hayden:
You know, I'm not exactly sure. I didn't have time to look down. It seemed a little bit crowded. So I don't know, maybe up to probably 178, 180, you know. Fast enough for cold tyres and cold brakes and everything.

Q:
So how fast were will you go in the race?

Nicky Hayden:
In the race we'll be doing 200 here. Seems like just comparing the length of that straightaway, compared to some of the other straightaways, so we're going to come on it quite slow. It's a pretty long straightaway. I don't think it's as long as China, but it's right in there with a few other straightaways.

Q:
You've been doing this pretty much all your life, and you decide to do it and you do it. But what really makes you want to ride in basically at a wall at 200 miles an hour and not knowing if you've got brakes and cold tyres and all that nonsense?

Nicky Hayden:
I certainly have a passion for this sport. It's certainly not just something to do to get paid or something like that. I mean, I, you know, I grew up with the sport. My dad raced, my brothers race, and it's really, I mean, as a kid growing up, I didn't have a plan B or anything else. I mean, I was going to race motorcycles. I mean, it's really the only thing as a kid I was any good at. Pretty much just right then, I mean, at a young age dedicated my life to it and, you know, feel really fortunate to be able to make a living doing something I do love to do.

Q:
Nicky, being a world champion and coming here to Indianapolis, growing up next door in Kentucky, this must be a gigantic dream come true for you. Want to elaborate on that?

Nicky Hayden:
Yeah, really it is a dream come true. Getting to race MotoGP and race motorcycles is enough of a dream come true for me. But to, you know, get to race basically in my backyard and be a part of it is awesome. And the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I mean the tradition and history here is second to none. I mean there's not a more famous place to race a motorcycle or car or line up anywhere in the world. So I think it's a big deal, not just for me but also our sport. I know MotoGP and all the riders and the people in the paddock are excited to be here and have this opportunity. You know, it's a big market for MotoGP to be on the East Coast and, you know, it's a big deal for us. That's the reason why, I mean I haven't, I can't say I've worked hard to promote it but a lot of people, Dorna, Red Bull and Indy themselves have put a lot of time and effort. So hopefully we get a good crowd, get some good weather and put on a good show.

Q:
Hi, Nicky. You tested here in April; is that correct?

Nicky Hayden:
Well, I didn't exactly test here. I rode the 1909, the 100-year-old Indian around and just did a few laps on a production bike. So no, it wasn't a real test but got to see the track and stuff.

Q:
Well, you know, Laguna I think you have a couple wins at Laguna in your MotoGP career, so obviously with the U.S. tracks have been pretty good, I guess you hope Indy is the same?

Nicky Hayden:
Yeah, I hope so. I mean, you know, we have, the season hasn't just been going great, seventh in points right now, but we definitely supposedly have a new engine coming soon that we were expecting already to have. So this track here is going to be really important for the straightaway. Hopefully we'll have a new engine by then and just be prepared and be ready when I we get here and do everything. We've got a few tests after the next couple races. One of the big things when we come to a new track will be tires. You know, anytime you go to a new surface. So there will be a lot of unknowns, which is quite exciting coming here. It will be Friday morning, there won't be a lot of time to find a setup, transmission, a lot of things will be, you know, just take a stab in the dark and see what happens.

Q:
It was noted that Arie Luyendyk quickly came up to you and talked to you. I'm curious what that was all about.

Nicky Hayden:
Yes, actually I had met him before at a Goodwood event in England a couple years ago I was at. So I can't say I'm just a diehard car fan, but I like motorsports racing. To me even if I wasn't doing the lap, it's a shame, I can honestly say it's the first time I've been to the Indy 500. And really no excuse. Living three hours from home, I should have been here by now, but normally this is a busy time for us. So I can't wait, after this press conference and get changed out of the leathers, I'm going to be up there watching the start of the race and got a chance to -- Buddy Rice, got to go see his car and check out the steering wheel. That was pretty cool. I actually had the opportunity a few years ago to drive Michael Andretti's car, so yeah.

Q:
Let me come at my earlier question at a different angle. If you hadn't done this all your life, if this wasn't what you grew up to do, would it make any sense to you to drive 200 miles an hour at a concrete wall?

Nicky Hayden:
I mean, I don't necessarily think of it like that. Our sport is, I mean it certainly takes guts and nerve and that. But, you know, you've got to be brave. But you need a bigger brain than just balls, because you won't be around long enough to get to this level, you know. So I think you've got to know when to hang it out, when to take your risks, when to hold back and, you know, be smart because it's a long season. If you want a long career, so. I don't necessarily think of myself as a daredevil or fool or somebody who don't value their life. I mean, yeah, you know, you've got to be prepared to pay the price. You know, you're going to crash if you're going to be fast and be able to handle it, take the, you know, when the sport's got a bad side, too. I guess that's what, also, I guess it may sound sick, but you like about the sport. It's not easy, it's not a cupcake little sport that's real easy and about anybody could do it. You know, you've certainly got to, I guess, have a side that don't mind putting your body on the line and taking those things. So it's not for everybody, but certainly for me.

Q:
Nicky, what's your feeling and maybe the general feeling in MotoGP community about how successful this event will be or can be? Do you think it can draw European-size crowds?

Nicky Hayden:
Well, the first year could be tough. I mean, we go to places that get 150,000 people, so I mean I would say the first year might be tough, but this place, you know, Indy is not a Ma and Pa store, they know about putting on world-class events. I think it's definitely enticed the interest of people all over the world. The European fans also want to come to see the race. You know, we're not just racing at some track out in Iowa, this is quite a famous place that I think is, you know, definitely drawn, you know, is a big drawing card for the international audience to see. So I don't want to make too big of predictions, but Indy seems to think, you know, that they can sell enough seats to make it worthwhile. So, I mean, I think that's one thing about Indy, they certainly know how to promote the sport, how to do all the things, you know, with the Indy 500 and their resources is a big strong point for them.

Q:
Just following from that, do you expect it to pull a bigger crowd than Laguna Seca?

Nicky Hayden:
Yeah, I would say more than Laguna Seca just because Laguna is, you know, just can't hold the people that this place, you know, is prepared to seat. So I think Laguna is right at 60,000, so I think they're expecting more than that on Race Day, so yeah.