Indianapolis GP: Repsol Honda race report

Hayden Ride Brave Race Repsol Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden rode a brave race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon, leading in treacherously wet and windy conditions and finally finishing second. This was Hayden's first ...

Hayden Ride Brave Race

Repsol Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden rode a brave race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon, leading in treacherously wet and windy conditions and finally finishing second. This was Hayden's first top-three result of the year and he walked to the podium using a walking stick, still suffering from the broken right heel he sustained six weeks ago.

Hayden and his RC212V took the lead on lap two from Andrea Dovizioso and then enjoyed a tense duel with Valentino Rossi, who slipped ahead at half distance. For much of the race the pair were comfortably the fastest two riders on the track, then shortly after half-distance conditions deteriorated. The remnants of Hurricane Ike had been battering the circuit since lunch time, when heavy rain and winds hit the Indiana venue, forcing Race Direction to postpone the 250 race. As the wind and rain increased during the second half of the MotoGP race a massive section of trackside signage came adrift, forcing the race to be red flagged. Race Direction briefly considered restarting the race but finally the result was called.

Nicky Hayden, finished 2nd, 8th in World Championship

"Man, it felt really good to be in the lead and I felt quite comfortable. It's been a long time. I was thinking 'this only happens in the movies': your home race, missing the last two and coming back to win. I was able to stay focused but Valentino came past and he had a little more speed, especially in section three. Then when he touched the line onto the back straightaway I was able to make up a little more ground and I thought maybe I was okay. But when it started raining heavy I was in trouble because when it had dried I'd used up a lot of the left side of the tyre, so it got pretty gnarly with all the water. "Sure, you dream about winning your home race, but honestly I shouldn't be too greedy with how things have been. I'll take this second and enjoy it. I'd just like to say a big thanks to my team, all my guys, my friends, my family, everyone who's stuck with me through tough times. Also, thanks to Indy and everyone for making this race happen. It's a great feeling to be able to race so close to home, I enjoyed it. "I gave the maximum today, I can't say I left much on the table and that's how it's supposed to be. When they stopped the race it was pretty treacherous. It was the right thing to do. Conditions were really tough, especially with the winds because you'd be on a dry line and all of a sudden it'd blow you onto the wet. When they said we were going to do another eight laps, part of me thought 'hey, let's line back up and try again'. But I'm not leading the championship, so I've got nothing to worry about. A big thanks to the fans too, we only had to be out in the wet for an hour, they've been out there since Thursday."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"That was an excellent race from Nicky in very difficult conditions. He did such a good job, so did his crew and also Michelin. It was great to see him climb the podium at his home race with so many of his fans here. I am sure this result will give him some extra power for the final four races of the year."

Toughest Possible Conditions

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was classified eighth in today's first-ever Indy MotoGP event, run in atrociously wet and windy conditions, due to the arrival of Hurricane Ike. The Spaniard had the toughest-possible conditions for his first race with a totally new technical package: new machine and new tyres. What he needed to accustom himself to his new technical package was consistent conditions that would allow to him to get a feel for his pneumatic-valve RC212V and Bridgestone tyres. But track conditions changed constantly during the weekend with unsettled weather caused by the fast-approaching Hurricane Ike. After heavy rain on Friday and then bright, sunny weather yesterday, the hurricane finally arrived at lunchtime today with strong winds and heavy rain. The race got underway on a wet track, Pedrosa running in sixth place during the opening few laps. In the treacherous conditions he enjoyed a close battle for sixth with Sylvain Guintoli and Chris Vermeulen. As the wind and rain increased during the second half of the race a massive section of trackside signage came adrift, forcing the race to be red flagged. Race Direction briefly considered restarting the race but finally the result was called.

Dani Pedrosa, finished 8th, 3rd in World Championship

"That was a very tough race. I started quite cautiously and then I began to push harder, but in the mid-stages I wasn't fast enough and I lost some time. Towards the end I found a good pace. Four or five laps before Race Direction stopped the race, the wind got really strong and there was a lot of dirt and debris getting blown on to the track. Indy and the Race Direction did a good job getting the track ready before the race. Finishing eighth is not a good result for me, but considering the conditions I couldn't do any better. All in all, it has been an important weekend for us. We have gained a lot of experience in both wet and dry conditions which will help in the future, so we will keep working hard. The tyres worked well today and I'm feeling confident for the next race at Motegi in two weeks time."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"This was a difficult weekend for Dani but he worked incredibly hard and gave his best. He is just starting out with his package of new machine and tyres, so this was a learning weekend, with weather and track conditions changing all the time. I am sure he will be ready to push towards the podium at the next races, starting with Motegi in two weeks time."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Chris Vermeulen , Andrea Dovizioso , Dani Pedrosa