Hayden On Front Row Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden will start tomorrow's US GP from the front row of the grid following a stirring charge in the final stages of this afternoon's qualifying session. In warm, sunny conditions that followed ...
Hayden On Front Row
Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden will start tomorrow's US GP from the front row of the grid following a stirring charge in the final stages of this afternoon's qualifying session.
In warm, sunny conditions that followed another misty start to the day, Hayden rode his fastest-ever lap of Laguna Seca, almost 1.2 seconds faster than his 2007 qualifying pace. The American, winner here in 2005 and 2006, will tomorrow aim for his first podium of the 2008 season to back up his first front-row start since June's Catalan GP.
Hayden's Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa this morning decided to withdraw from this weekend's event due to the injuries he sustained in last Sunday's Germany GP.
Nicky Hayden, 3rd fastest, 1m 21.430s
"Qualifying was difficult, there were many guys crashing. Qualifying is so important here because it's so hard to pass, so some guys are willing to pay a big price for a good grid position. Our race pace isn't exactly blazing but it's really nice to be on the front row in front of the home crowd, the support is awesome. I know tomorrow's going to be really tough, Casey [Stoner] is on fire right now and we're having a few little issues, but the team's done a good job and I feel like we deserve a good result. Hoping won't get it though, so we'll come in here tomorrow, ride hard and see if we can't pull something out. I'm a little bit nervous. Truth is, the tyres we've got in our allocation are a little out of the range, so the warmer the better for us. We changed the bike a little bit to make the tyres work more and the qualifying tyres were awesome. Actually I felt like I maybe left a couple of tenths in them but I was running about as hard as I could. Hopefully we can put on a good show tomorrow and not less this guy disappear. A podium would be great, but to try to fight with Casey would be a long shot. We never give up, anything can happen when we line up, so we'll come in here, try to have fun, try my hardest and I know I'll have plenty of support. I'm looking forward to it."
Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager
"Nicky did a good job today, conquering his second front row of the season. He did a good job with qualifying tyres but also his rhythm with race tyres is not too bad, so we are confident and we will try. We know that the race will be tough as there are many strong riders but Nicky is very motivated, the support of the American fans is incredible and we will fight for the win."