Dani Pedrosa's manager Alberto Puig has launched a stinging attack on the Spaniard's departing Repsol Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden
- saying that the American used to 'copy' Pedrosa's settings because he can't set-up a bike himself, was never a rival to Pedrosa and is a 'hypocrite' for claiming that he doesn't have a problem with Dani.
During an interview with the official MotoGP website, former 500cc race winner Puig was asked about the wall which now divides the Repsol Honda pits, following Pedrosa's shock mid-season switch to Bridgestone tyres. Hayden has indicated that he doesn't like the idea of a team being divided.
"All I can say is that Hayden may be bothered because now he can't access information and telemetry data from Dani's bike," replied Puig. "With this information he was able to improve his riding, as he had all of Dani's references and now he can't use that any longer. He was simply copying as he never knew how to set-up a bike."
But that hasn't been reflected in terms of results. In the three races since the Repsol Honda pits were divided, Hayden has enjoyed his best form of the season - claiming two podium finishes and beating Pedrosa in two of the three races.
Indeed, during the last three rounds, Hayden has scored 47 points, while Pedrosa has managed just 24. It should of course be noted that Pedrosa is still adapting to his new tyres and the pneumatic-valve engine and also fell on lap one of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.
Turning to the subject of the prickly relationship between Pedrosa and Hayden, Puig admitted that it hasn't been the same since Dani collided with Hayden at the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix - eliminating Hayden from the world championship lead with just one round to go.
Hayden subsequently won the title at the Valencia season finale, during which Dani waved him past early in race, but Puig claims the 2006 world champion has acted like a 'hypocrite' and is 'jealous'.
"Everything changed with the incident in Portugal, where Dani made a mistake during the race and apologised for it afterwards," said Puig. "Nicky eventually won the title and Dani did what he had to do in Valencia, which was to help him. But from that point - even if Hayden denies it - all he's been doing has been talking about how Dani was 'weird' and bringing the people around Pedrosa into the subject. He shouldn't act like a hypocrite and say that he doesn't have a problem with Dani, because since that incident in Portugal I think he has talked to him about twice. He shouldn't involve Dani's manager in this just because he's jealous of another rider."
But Puig played down any rivalry between Pedrosa and Hayden, since Hayden 'was always behind him'.
"Honestly, and without trying to offend anyone, there was never a rivalry in the garage," he said. "Nicky won the title when Dani was in his first MotoGP season, and since then there was no rivalry because he [Hayden] didn't get the results. On his own, Dani gained experience in this class and Nicky was always behind him, so Nicky has never been a serious rival."