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Hayden surprised by Sepang pole challenge

Nicky Hayden was denied his first MotoGP pole position as a Ducati rider by just 0.1sec in the final minute of qualifying at Sepang on Saturday.

The 2006 world champion, on pole five times with Honda between 2003 and 2007, had been only 15th and 11th in the two free practice sessions in Malaysia.

Hayden, who lost out to world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, admitted he had surprised himself.

“This is a bit of a surprise, I didn't expect to be on the front row today," said the American, after taking only his second front row start on a Desmosedici. "We only missed pole by one tenth but don't anybody feel sorry for us, we're pretty happy!

"The lap itself was obviously a good one, I don't think I could have got any more out of myself or the bike, but overall we've done a good job today.

"We were struggling yesterday but we went back to a setting that worked for us in the test and even though I didn't get the lap time this morning I told the guys not to make too many changes to the bike because I felt comfortable and knew I could improve purely through riding."

If Hayden was pleasantly surprised, team-mate Casey Stoner - winner of the last two races - expected better than fifth.

“I'm a little disappointed with the way qualifying went today," said the Australian. "We made a little progress with the race setting on the harder tyre. We didn't get a lot of laps in but we are happy with the work we did on the bike and feel reasonably confident.

"When I went to use the softer compound to set a qualifying lap on we lost feeling completely. There was no traction on the rear yet it was still pushing the front at the same time.

"We couldn't do the lap time we wanted or even deserved but we know our pace is faster than a couple of the guys in front of us on the grid so we'll see if we can get past them in the race.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Hayden, Malaysian MotoGP 2010
Nicky Hayden - A tribute
`Go Nicky` Hayden sign on starting grid, French MotoGP 2017
`Stay Strong Nicky` Hayden sticker on Marquez`s bike, French MotoGP 2017
`Stay Strong Nicky` Hayden sticker on Marquez`s bike, French MotoGP 2017
`Stay Strong Nicky` Hayden sticker on Marquez`s bike, French MotoGP 2017
`Stay Strong Nicky` Hayden sticker on Pedrosa`s bike, French MotoGP 2017
Stoner, French MotoGP 2017
Stoner, Tardozzi, French MotoGP 2017
Stoner, French MotoGP 2017
Sasaki with Hayden`s number, French Moto3 2017
Miller with Hayden`s number on his helmet, French MotoGP 2017
Miller with Hayden`s number on his helmet, French MotoGP 2017
Miller with Hayden`s number on his helmet, French MotoGP 2017
`Thinking of you Nicky` Hayden sign, French MotoGP 2017
Pol Espargaro, Spanish MotoGP 2017
Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Folger Spanish MotoGP 2017
Takuya Tsuda Suzuki Test Rider Sepang Test

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Oli - Unregistered

October 09, 2010 10:24 AM

Interesting comment on the rain Lloyd - Much as I am a fan, I don't remember Nicky ever doing well in the wet? But my memory is not the best. Not that he should be good in the wet - he is from Kentucky! I reckon when it rains the teams should wildcard some local riders from Knockhill - they'd kick ass! But I really like Nicky. He just does not know when he is beaten / written off / past it / any other criticsm aimed at him. Works his **** off to make up for not being the most talented or the fastest. And a great personality to boot. Pedrobot may be way faster and way more talented, but Nicky is way more interesting and Nicky has won a MotoGP world title. Respect. Oli

Max - Unregistered

October 09, 2010 4:16 PM

Has anyone noticed that someone is conspicuously absent from the comments here? It's funny how Kenlucky and Prolific seem to take a day off when Nicky does well. I think that they're probably just cowards and only know how to be negative. Please don't think that humility and amiability is not consistent with a winner. Nicky might not have the complete 'killer' instinct but he certainly has a winning attitude and work ethic. Go Nicky! If for no other reason than to shut up Kenlucky!!!

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