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MotoGP Valencia: Hayden speaks on eve of final MotoGP race

“From the time I was five years' old, what I wanted to do was be a grand prix rider, and for 13 years I was, and tomorrow it ends” - Nicky Hayden.
After his final qualifying session as a MotoGP rider, at Valencia on Saturday, Nicky Hayden answered questions from the media on a wide variety of subjects - including his near miss with Maverick Vinales, Jorge Lorenzo's record pole, title leader Valentino Rossi starting last, Race Direction and the penalty points system, plus Marc Marquez's scuffle with Italian TV.

Below is an edited version of what the 2006 world champion - who qualified his Aspar Honda 17th out of 26 riders - had to say...

On Lorenzo's pole lap…
“I saw Lorenzo's lap and I couldn't tell if he was coming in the pits or what. It was incredible! Red sectors, boom! And going faster … When he's like that, I mean … it looked like he had another half a second. I'm sure he didn't, I'm sure it don't feel like that, but I know sometimes you're right on the limit and you see it on the TV and think, hey, why didn't you brake later?

“And these bikes, sometimes you override them, I know this week, to be fast now with these electronics is different to ten years ago. In my opinion, on a 990, when you overrode it, you went faster. With these bikes, when you override it, you normally go slower.”

On missing Maverick Viñales after he highsided just in front of him in qualifying…
“I had already looked at the apex so I didn't see the complete thing, I just saw BAM! It seemed awful sudden and he was on the ground. He was sliding, and I was going to let him go and turn in, but then I didn't know if there were guys following me, so I didn't want to turn in and go right on the line. I kept waiting for him to go off the track, but because he was slowing at the last minute, he just stopped.”

“This track has got great memories for me, but it's also got bad memories, that crash in 2011 basically took the wheels off my MotoGP career. From then, I had problems with my wrist in 2013, and cost me my factory ride.”

How will you feel when you wake up tomorrow?
“Who am I kidding? Just another race? No. Of course it'll feel a little bit different after the race on the cool down lap. But it's not like it's my last race. Cool down lap, I'll be thinking about it, of course it's going to feel different. From the time I was five years' old, what I wanted to do was be a grand prix rider, and for 13 years I was, and tomorrow it ends.

“So it'll be the end of an era for me, but also, at that point, I'll be thinking about Superbike. I'm not going off to the Senior Tour or nothing, I better keep focused and get ready, because I'm sure those guys will be waiting for me and loving every chance to stick it up the inside of a MotoGP world champion. So I look forward to the challenge.”

Rossi in the race…
“I've been impressed with how fast he's going. I mean, he was on pole here last year, but he's looked very solid. We know he's a nine-time champion because he's fast on Sunday, but he's come out of the gate, might not be breaking track records, but compared to a normal Friday, Saturday, he's looking strong.”

Rossi coming past him in the race after starting last…
Hopefully not too soon! He's just one more guy, I don't think nobody's getting out of his way, I see the sheets, he's a second faster, only half a second qualifying, but of course, am I going to try to fight him? If I see a front wheel, I'm going to try to hook in behind him and hopefully when he passes the next guy, I can follow him through. We'll see tomorrow.

Fans asking riders to let Rossi through…
“I know he's got a massive fan club, but riders don't think like that. Truthfully, we don't care. Honestly, it moved me up one place, that's how I look at it. And I'm glad, because I would be 17th, and now I'm 16th, and when you're on the sixth row, I'd rather be on the outside than right on the middle. You've got a little clear lane.

“I wish they could have just docked him the points, and let him start on the front row, and let the best man win, but we have a Safety Commission, and we asked them to do it this way, to follow a protocol. We wanted this penalty points system, and now we got it. It would be nicer to do something in the race, you hate for the championship to be decided for something like that, but Race Direction have got a job to do.

“They can't make special cases. If they would just sit back and do nothing, they would lose all credibility. They can't see what happened, and say, oh no, it was a racing incident, we didn't see it. I just wish it had been a couple of points so it's him and Lorenzo starting one-two tomorrow and may the best man win, but the riders also have to respect Race Direction.”

Do Race Direction do a good job in general?
“I think they do a real good job in general. I have a lot of respect for those guys. They're in a tough spot, because they can't make everybody happy, but I think [Mike] Webb, and the others, they're very professional and they should set a good example for other organisations. Good luck with that job, I wouldn't want it!

“I hope they get paid good, because who'd want to go around penalising world champions? But even that Moto3 qualifying and stuff, I'm glad it's not me, but they've got to be doing something. It's a job where you're not going to please everybody. Mike Webb [race director] needs a bodyguard any time he goes to Italy.”

Marquez scuffle with Italian TV at his house…
“I think it's hilarious what Márquez did to them Italian journalists. They broke their cameras, I thought it was very funny. I don't know the guys, but I think they deserved it. I would like to think we would have done something real similar, if they had showed up at our house. I give the Márquez family credit for what they did, they ain't just going to take it, coming to make a joke on them.”

Tagged as: Honda , hayden

Related Pictures

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Hayden, Valencia MotoGP 2015
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November 07, 2015 10:00 PM

NH69 is one of the best gentleman in the sport, and has greatly contributed to the sport offtrack. This is why this guy commands respect in paddock. He will also be remembered as one of the hardest and dedicated worker. I will watch WSBK too next season after many years. Go Nicky !!! Be the first to do the double GP and SBK champ.

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