While his first season with Ducati in MotoGP hasn't entirely gone to plan, Nicky Hayden heads to the final round at Valencia in high spirits as he returns to the scene of his finest career moment.
Sealing the 2006 title for Repsol Honda with a run to third position, while Hayden has not been close to repeating that feat in recent seasons, he still considers Valencia a very special venue.
Also marking a return to the circuit where he made his Ducati debut during testing, Hayden, who is 13th in the standings, is keen to see how far he has come over the last twelve months too.
“I love Valencia and for obvious reasons it is a place that holds very special memories for me but I don't just like it because it is where I won the title in 2006 – I actually just like the circuit itself. I guess it will be my first 'Ducati anniversary' and it will be interesting to see how far we have come since that first test a year ago.
“I can't wait to get there – it is a great Grand Prix with a special, welcoming and party atmosphere. Hopefully I can have a good race and enjoy myself. If I can manage a good result there's a chance we can finish the season in the top ten, with ninth place just twelve points away. I won't be easy but we'll see what we can do.”