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MotoGP Le Mans: Hayden: It’s nice to be happy on a Sunday!

Nicky Hayden posts his best MotoGP result of 2015 in Le Mans with a strong eleventh place and top 'Open' rider despite electronics issues
Just two weeks after a morale sapping finish outside of the points in Jerez, Nicky Hayden posted his best MotoGP result of 2015 at Le Mans and finished as the top 'Open' rider to boot.

Monday's post-race test at Jerez allowed Hayden to experiment with wheelbase and front fork settings that gave him a better feeling in Le Mans' numerous heavy-braking zones.

Starting from a season best 14th on the grid, Hayden battled with Danilo Petrucci early on for ninth before Maverick Viñales came by on lap 18 to push him just outside the top ten.

“Of course it's nice to win the 'Open' class but actually I'm more happy to be fighting with the 'Factory' guys,” said Hayden. “That excites me more. Today I was in front of Viñales for a while and I was fighting with Petrucci.

“The team did a really good job this week, especially before qualifying. I'm just happier because I felt good on the bike. It's not that I could ride harder than I've ridden in other races, just more that there was more feedback and more how I wanted. We need to enjoy it and try to keep building on it and get closer. It's nice to be happy on Sunday after the race!”

Hayden revealed that a potential sensor problem began to cause problems when engaged in second gear the lap Viñales passed, meaning any hopes of fighting the Spaniard for tenth were over.

“I had a little problem the lap that Viñales passed me. Maybe it was a sensor problem and in second gear the bike started to react strangely in a couple of places. I'm not really sure, they haven't figured out what's happened just yet. But it gave me a strange feeling and Viñales passed me and I just thought about finishing at that point. We got a few points and my best result.

“The track did change different to what we had seen all week. It gave some problems in turn four. I noticed some guys crashing there and I was having some more problems with the front. I was loading the front tyre a bit into there. Not a lot changed. We were close to racing the harder tyre but unless we had raced it in hot conditions I wouldn't know if it would be a good choice or not."

Although the Aspar Honda team didn't have anything new to test in Jerez two weeks before, Hayden was pleased with the time spent experimenting with the set-up of his 'Open' Honda.

“We changed some wheelbase stuff. Not big changes but some stuff we don't always try on the weekend. Also some stuff like some different fork settings that allowed me to brake better in the race in the first few laps, fighting. That test was definitely useful.”

With Aspar Moto3 rider Francesco Bagnaia scoring a maiden podium in Moto3 and team-mate Eugene Laverty racking up his first points of the year after lunchtime, Hayden's result capped off a good day for the Aspar team. It was, he said, just rewards for their continued efforts.

“The team certainly deserves it. We know it's not been an easy situation and I'm really thankful to the team. The guys have worked really hard. As you know the guys lost a sponsor which wasn't great. We still continue on and luckily we have a good boss that can keep things in order. Luckily this sport is up and down so everybody deserves this and hopefully we can build on it and keep going.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Hayden, French MotoGP 2015
Reddng, Petrucci, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden after crash, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Petrucci Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Miller Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl, Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Redding Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Redding Australian MotoGP 2016
Laverty, Australian MotoGP 2016
Petrucci, Hayden Australian MotoGP 2016
Petrucci, Hayden Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Redding, Petrucci, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Petrucci, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Petrucci Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Petrucci Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Miller, Hayden, Petrucci Australian MotoGP Race 2016

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May 18, 2015 2:56 PM

Good result for Nick, but this bike will not be receiving any updates whatsoever from HRC for the rest of the season, and this result may be the pinnacle of the season, as for Aspar should dump this POS of a bike and perhaps acquire some equipment from Borgo Panigale GP14.2 or GP15s if possible for next year , since i see no future with HRCs method of leasing expensive , slow and overrated equipment.


May 18, 2015 10:15 PM

joemagic: Why would he go to WSBK? He is currently beating the top riders from the WSBK field. Laverty, Melandri. His bike is faster than anything on the WSBK grid. That and he travels the world with a prestigious circus, with the likes of Rossi, Lorenzo, Marquez the best on any grid. Who WSBK got Sykes? Guintoli? I don't see the appeal of WSBK at the moment.
It's the chance to win again. But yes, he does have it good despite riding a grid-filler machine. SBK has been a refuge for former GP stars.... look at what guys like Checa, Melandri, and Max have been able to do.

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