Nicky Hayden's performance over the Valencia weekend, and his subsequent rookie of the year award, sent a clear message that he'll be a genuine threat to the established stars next season...

But unfortunately for the 22-year-old, he now goes into the near six month off-season having made what he considered a 'stupid mistake' in the final race of the year: After starting well from his first ever front row, Hayden fell on the fourth lap while lying in third, when he accidentally knocked the gear shifter on his RCV.
"I gotta' pretty good start and was right there. Felt good - everything fine. Sete (Gibernau) kept showin' me his wheel. I just got a little bit excited when I got into turn two," he began. "Went in a little bit hot and got kinda' crowded in there. I had the bike leant over real hard in first and accidentally hit the shifter - 2nd gear - and completely span out. Stupid mistake.

"Overall I've got to try and not beat myself up. I'm just more disappointed as the weekend was really going so well. I picked the bike up again (pictured) and managed to get it going. It was in pretty good shape considering. I managed to get past a few guys but that was it," added Nicky, who finished the race just out of the points in sixteenth.

"Overall I guess we've got a lot to build on this season. A year full of high and lows. It all makes me work harder and I can't wait till Tuesday to start testing for next year. We gotta' lotta' work to do," said the ever-enthusiastic Repsol rider, keen to inherit Rossi's number one status at Honda. "I'll take everything I've learned this year and build on it. I feed on tryin' to improve. It all just makes me want to try harder and to do better."



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