If Nicky Hayden
finishes outside the top three in this weekend's Valencia season finale, it will mark the first time that the former world champion has concluded a MotoGP
season without a rostrum.
The Ducati star, who made his MotoGP
debut in 2003 and has finished a best of fourth so far this year, approaches the final round holding ninth in the championship and 13 points behind Stefan Bradl (Honda LCR).
Hayden will naturally be hoping for a trouble-free end to the year, having been taken out at the first turn of last year's Valencia race, sustaining a wrist injury that caused him to miss the following post-season test.
“Valencia is a track and a race that I like a lot,” said Hayden, who finished on the Valencia podium in 2005 and 2006.
“It's the last round of the year, so the atmosphere is good and everyone always seems to have a little something extra. The track has been resurfaced since we were last there, and it was certainly due.
“We'll have to see how it is with tyres when we get there, as new surfaces can be hard on rubber. We'll need something that has good endurance on the left but also retains enough heat on the right.
“Smoother tracks are normally better for our bike. One thing we need to do better than in recent races is to make bigger improvements with the bike over the course of the weekend.
“My team has been working so hard all year, and I really want to end the season with a solid race for them.”
Hayden and new team-mate Andrea Dovizioso
will join their 2013 rivals in testing at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday.