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Catalunya MotoGP: Hayden: Front row not out of the question

“I think I left a couple of tenths out there. I don't think a front row was out of the question” - Nicky Hayden.
Nicky Hayden produced his best qualifying performance of the season to claim fifth on the grid for Sunday's Catalunya MotoGP.

The Ducati star had earlier turned heads with second in morning practice and felt a front row was possible if he had held his pace through the final sector.

“This morning didn't go so bad and it's the best qualifying of the year. So that's positive. But I'm not completely happy with my lap in the last sector,” revealed Hayden.

“Some guys were just getting out of my way - nobody was actually in my way - but I think I left a couple of tenths out there. I don't think a front row was out of the question. So I'm not thrilled with my lap, but the bike with new tyres is working well.”

This year's Catalunya F1 race was dominated by tyre wear and the MotoGP competitors are facing similar challenges in terms of retaining grip in the 50-degree track temperatures.

“For me the main problem is the same as yesterday: As soon as the tyres have done two laps, the grip goes away - especially on the edge - and I get big problems with stopping and turning,” said Hayden. “The actual spinning I can manage, but we're getting a lot of 'pumping' [bike moving up and down].

“It's going to be a really tough race tomorrow. We'll see what we can do tomorrow to make the tyre last longer.”

Hayden's tyre choice looks set to be an easy decision, with the hard all but ruled out.

“The soft tyre here is a 'real' soft tyre, one lap and you lose some performance," said Hayden. “But the hard is even worse, because when the grip goes away on the soft you still have enough grip to manage it. But when the grip goes away on the hard it is really difficult to ride.

“The heat actually made the hard tyre worse for me today. It was hotter but greasier so a harder tyre works less.”

Asked if he will save his tyre during the early stages of the grand prix, the 2006 world champion replied:

“I can't afford to really go easy. Sure in the back in my mind I'll be trying not to over-spin and get the temperature too high. But also I'm starting fifth and I don't want to get swallowed up from behind.

“Sure I'll probably change engine map quicker than I would in a normal situation and it will be a bigger step between the engine maps than most races.

“Every track is different but tomorrow I would say I'll probably do the first [map] change after three or four laps.”

Hayden has claimed top six finishes in the last two races and sits seventh in the standings with a best finish of fifth so far this year. Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso qualified in ninth.

Don't miss out! The next round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship takes place at Assen on June 27-29 - CLICK HERE to see ticket prices from the Official MotoGP Ticket Store.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Hayden, Catalunya MotoGP 2013
Hayden after crash, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Miller Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl, Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Redding Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Redding Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP 2016
Petrucci, Hayden Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Petrucci, Hayden Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Dovizioso, Espargaro Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Maverick Vinales, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Maverick Vinales, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Hayden, Petrucci Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP Race 2016

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June 15, 2013 10:55 PM

Great to see Nicky showing some form. They finally seem to be going in a better direction with the bike despite not much changing on it yet stable rules and a tyre manaufacturer that isnt a kleptomaniac changing tyre construction randomely will prove integral to Ducati progressing and even suzuki or any anyother manufacturer wanting to join the circus.

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