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PICTURES: Hayden, Dovizioso final turn clash
19 August 2013
Sunday's Indianapolis MotoGP ended in dramatic fashion for Ducati with Nicky Hayden and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso clashing at the final turn.
Hayden had made a last-gasp lunge to retake eighth, but ended up bumping Dovizioso and sending them both wide and over the kerbing at the exit of the corner (see below for further pictures).
Bradley Smith then took advantage to accelerate past both Desmosedicis on the run to the finish line, leaving Hayden ninth and Dovizioso tenth.
Hayden had been on the receiving end of contact with Dovizioso during the previous Laguna Seca race, but insisted there was no payback involved and that the clash was unintentional.
Both Hayden and Dovizioso were called before Race Direction, with no action taken.
“We went back and forth a lot, and then in the last corner on the last lap, we had contact, which was my fault,” said Hayden. “When the door started to close, I was already committed and didn't want him to take out my front wheel. Unfortunately, Smith still beat us to the line.
“They [Race Direction] just wanted to review the last-corner incident between me and Dovi, any time there is contact,” Hayden added. “It was racin' on the slowest corner on the track, so there is no deal between Dovi and me. No problem at all - just racin'.”
Dovizioso wasn't impressed with the move, but agreed it was a racing incident.
“I was able to pass Nicky back on the final lap, but in the last corner, he wanted to get by me at any cost, using a really aggressive manoeuvre,” said the Italian. “I didn't expect it because I hadn't left the door open. Nicky came beside me and we touched, and it certainly wasn't a safe move, but we can say it was a racing incident.
“We were called to Race Direction because of course it's important to talk about these things and immediately clear them up. Honestly, I'm quite annoyed to have lost two positions, and I also wanted to keep Smith behind me. Still, there's no sense in creating controversy in a situation like this, so for me it's over.”
Indianapolis marked Hayden's last home race as a factory Ducati rider, with Cal Crutchlow joining Dovizioso at the team in 2014. Hayden would naturally like to end his Ducati career on a high, but the current situation remains bleak.
“We know we have a difficult situation right now,” he said. “We've got a lot of work to do, me and Dovi both, to get beat so bad here. At this track, I've been on the podium a lot. He was on the podium here last year. It is really frustrating. At the moment, we're going around in circles. It's going to be a long end of the season, but we've got to try to come up with something to reduce the gap to the front.”
Hayden is being linked to the new breed of privateer MotoGP machines from Honda and Yamaha for 2014, but isn't ruling out World Superbike.
Asked if he will be back at Indy next year, the former MotoGP champion replied: “It's looking likely. I've got a couple of options here if I want to stay. It's no secret I'm also entertaining the possible switch to World Superbike, and the challenge would be to be the first guy to ever win both championships.
“At the moment, I would say it's about 50-50. We'll see.”