13 August 2013
Indianapolis MotoGP: Hayden heads for final home race with Ducati
“I don't have to tell anyone how special Indy is to me” – Nicky Hayden.
Nicky Hayden will make his final home appearance for the factory Ducati MotoGP team, at Indianapolis this weekend.
The 2006 world champion is in his fifth season at the official Ducati team, but is to be replaced next year by Cal Crutchlow.
Indianapolis is the most local of the three US based events for Hayden, whose home is a three-and-a-half-hour drive south in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Hayden, who celebrated his 32nd birthday during the summer break, earned his first podium with Ducati at Indy in 2009, one year after finishing runner-up aboard a Honda.
“It was nice to get rested up for a couple weeks, but I'm looking forward to the second half of the season, which I hope will bring us some better results than the first half did,” said Hayden, who is yet to announce his 2014 plans.
“I'll be happy to be back in the garage with my bike and my team. I don't have to tell anyone how special Indy is to me, as that should be pretty obvious with it being my true home race.
“The support I had from the Laguna crowd was incredible, and I'm expecting nothing less at Indy. I think the track might be a little better for us than the last couple were. It's a tricky little circuit with a couple of technical corners.
“We'll try to come out of the gate strong on Friday, have a solid weekend, and have some fun.”
Hayden was forced to miss last year's race after being briefly knocked unconscious in a qualifying fall. The #69 starts this weekend ninth in the world championship, with a best finish of fifth so far this year.
Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso finished third at Indianapolis for Tech 3 Yamaha last season.
“The Indianapolis track is a bit strange, with asphalt that changes from corner to corner, and it's difficult for all of the riders. In fact, there were a lot of crashes there last year,” said Dovizioso.
“I'm not sure how it will be with the Ducati, not having ridden it there. I've never had good luck there in the past, although I did make the podium last year.”
Dovizioso, who will continue at Ducati next season, is seventh in the standings with a top finish of fourth.
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